Security is a top priority today for both individuals and businesses. In addition, passwords give us access to almost everything. Secure password handling is therefore one of the first lines of defense against cyber attacks. While it can be challenging for many, following the basics below is a good start.
Choosing a secure password
First, there are a number of steps you can take to increase the security of your password. These steps answer the question of how to choose a secure password.
Choose a strong password
Choosing a strong password is the first and most important step. Avoid obvious choices such as “password123” or your date of birth. Instead, better choose a “passphrase. Then combine this with uppercase, lowercase, punctuation and numbers. An example could be: !wilL-L0g99x-inMy@ccouNTnow!.
Avoid using personal information
Birth dates, anniversaries, names of pets or family members are all easy to guess and should be avoided. Hackers can often find this information by searching your social media profiles.
Safe handling of your password
You have now chosen a secure password, and the next step in this process goes into more detail on how to handle your password securely.
Use a unique password for each account
Never repeat the same password for different accounts. If one account is hacked, all other accounts using the same password are also vulnerable.
Change passwords regularly
Change your passwords every 3-6 months. This reduces the chances of your accounts being hacked. Also, passwords found in data breaches become unusable in the process.
Consider a password manager
For those who have trouble remembering all their passwords, a password manager can be a useful tool.
Password managers such as LastPass, Dashlane or 1Password store your passwords in an encrypted vault that can be unlocked with one strong master password. These tools can also help generate strong passwords and can alert you to password reuse.
Whether you use a password manager or otherwise store passwords digitally, be sure to make regular backups and keep them in a secure location.
Be careful with security questions
Choose questions that no one else could answer or even consider giving false answers that only you would know. After all, the ubiquitous question “what is your dog’s name?” can also be found out in many cases through social media.
Whenever possible, activate 2FA. This adds an extra layer of security, often in the form of a code sent to your phone.
Be wary of phishing attacks
Never click on suspicious links and never share your password with anyone via email or phone. Companies will never ask you for your password.
Log out of shared devices regularly
Let it be clear that we are not in favor of logging in on public devices. However, if you really have no choice, always make sure you log out after use. It is also important to avoid connecting to public or unknown Wi-Fi networks. These networks can be monitored by malicious parties.
The world of cybersecurity is constantly evolving. Therefore, stay informed about the latest threats and security practices to best protect your passwords. Learn how to handle passwords safely through our security awareness training.