While May 5 might mean margaritas, chips and salsa for some, tech professionals are thinking of only one thing on this spring day: passwords. Password Day started out as a friendly reminder for individuals and businesses to do their annual password changes, but it has evolved into a global phenomenon, encouraging people from all walks of life to ramp up the strength of their digital security.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when adding extra security to your password protection:
Use a Different Password for Every Account
This tip can seem like a migraine waiting to happen for many tech users. And while it sometimes can be difficult remembering unique passwords for possibly dozens of websites, devices and services, it is fundamental for defending your personal and private information. If a hacker gets ahold of one password, it can create a domino effect, and they gain access to multiple accounts with just one password. The solution is simple: create unique passwords and take advantage of a password manager that will encrypt and safely store your passwords so you won’t forget them.
Use More Than One Step to Verify Identity
Many apps and secure servers automatically require a second step after entering your password. With multi-factor authentication, you may be required to enter a code sent via SMS to your cell phone, or use a thumb print on a smartphone to confirm your identity. And while you probably don’t need this type of security for your personal Facebook account, it can be a vital tool for protecting sensitive business information stored in your cloud account. Some services will even protect phone calls, Microsoft Suite work, Salesforce accounts and more. Studies show that users who use a two-step verification system feel more secure of their accounts by 86 percent.
If You Think Your Password Is Obvious, It Definitely Is
Studies show that as many as 90 percent of user-generated passwords are subjected to hacking. Here are a few dos and don’ts from MDL to keep in mind when you are resetting passwords this year:
- Use uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols all in one password
- Use acronyms: MdSwbi#2001 translates to My daughter Sarah was born in 2001
- Use consecutive numbers or letters, either alphabetically, numerically or sequentially on the keyboard (QWERTY is one of the most common and easily guessed passwords)
- Use well-known or easily obtained information including names, birthdays, family members, pet’s names or even residences
- Save password information on sticky-notes on your desktop or in folders labeled “passwords,” either digitally or physically
You can never change your passwords too often or make them too secure. If you feel that your password may have been stolen, this secure tool will help find out if your email has been breached, which is often the first step in a password breach.