Do you know how strong your passwords are?
They’re probably not as strong as you think. Why wait until the one day a year where everyone talks about the subject? World Password Day is an annual celebration to promote safer password habits. It takes place on the first Thursday of May each year, but why wait another 10 months to tighten up your password security?
While passwords are a common form of authentication on the Internet, they’re more often than not the only line of defence between hackers and your personal information. Our helpful team at Cloud53 HQ would be happy to talk things through with anyone who is concerned about their security and anyone who wants better defences. In the meantime, the information below may give you some quick pointers!
What is Password Security?
Password security, though often overlooked, plays an extremely important role when it comes to protecting your identity on the Internet. After all, it keeps unauthorised users from breaking into your online accounts and stealing your personal information for their nefarious purposes like impersonating you to commit crimes in your name.
You can free yourself from risk by resetting your old, weak passwords to long, un-crackable ones and remind your friends, family and colleagues to do the same. With identity theft and other cyber-crimes at an all-time high, setting robust passwords is crucial and we’re going to show you exactly how to go about that.
How Hackers Can Steal Your Passwords?
Have you ever wondered how hackers go about cracking your passwords? Well, here are some of the most common ways through which they can steal your passwords, and ultimately, your personal information:
1. Brute force attack
One of the most common password cracking techniques out there, a brute-force attack involves checking all possible key combinations until the right one is found. Since hackers use complex algorithms to try multiple combinations at super-fast speeds, rest assured that your short passwords will be cracked in no time!
2. Password sniffing attack
A password sniffing attack is a technique used by hackers to collect your credentials on unencrypted connections. By using a combination of easily available tools on the Internet, they monitor all incoming and outgoing traffic on a network so they can intercept your usernames and passwords as they’re being transmitted.
3. Phishing attack
Even though phishing is an old trick in the hacker’s playbook, it’s still going strong and doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. Typically, it entails sending an email to the victim by impersonating a legitimate entity and requesting that they provide sensitive information like usernames, passwords, and even credit card details.
4. Social engineering attack
A social engineering attack requires little technical knowledge and relies on human error, tricking otherwise unwary employees or users into performing certain actions or revealing confidential information such as passwords or bank account details.
5. Dictionary attack
In a dictionary attack, a hacker tries hundreds – or sometimes even millions – of likely possibilities derived from a predefined list of words or dictionary in order to defeat an authentication mechanism like passwords.
6. Keystroke logging
Keystroke logging, also known as keylogging, is a technique that involves the use of a program to record or log every keystroke so they can obtain confidential information like passwords without the knowledge of the unsuspecting user.
So how do I make a secure Password?
Now that you know the common password security mistakes you need to avoid, let’s discuss how to create strong passwords. The following are some password tips to prevent hackers from accessing your online accounts:
1. The longer your passwords, the better.
The passwords you decide to use should be at least 12 characters in length so that they’re difficult to break. The longer a password is, the more combinations a hacker would need to try in order to successfully crack it.
2. Aim for complexity.
Password length and complexity go hand-in-hand in the quest to creating strong passwords, so make sure you include lower-case and upper-case letters along with numbers and symbols. Mix them up like you mix your cocktails on a Friday night!
3. Unpredictability is key.
Unpredictability is key when it comes to password strength. Avoid predictable words, passwords based on dictionary words, as well as any references to your personal life or popular TV shows, video games, and movies.
4. Unique is the way forward.
We’ve already highlighted this before, but its importance can’t be emphasised enough: Only use one password for one account.
Hopefully you are now equipped with the knowledge and ready to update your passwords. However, if you are still feeling uncertain and would like some more advice, don’t hesitate to give one of our friendly staff a call on 0333 444 5353 or drop us an email at [email protected] and we’ll be in touch with some more helpful tips!