Are passwords still secure?

9 Sep, 2021
Ritchie Farr

Ritchie Farr

With multi factor authentication upping the anti of application security, in isolation passwords are now seen as a somewhat basic security feature. However they are still an important aspect of your data protection. After all, what’s the benefit of two-factor authentication if one level is overly simple to override.

All too often users still use the same password for all applications or very basic, easy to guess sequences such as their name or company name and of course the scarily simple ‘123456’ or ‘password’. Hopefully you’re not blushing now as an owner of one of those combinations!

So what’s the key to a truly secure password?
Here are 5 tips for creating high quality passwords and improving your data protection.

1) The longer the better

The shorter the password the easier it will be to guess. So the first, most simple way to improve your password security is by creating a sequence of an appropriate length with a combination of numbers, upper case and lower case letters and special characters.

2) Be unique

When creating up a password, think outside the box. Think of ways to make a password unique such as a short sentence with some letters substituted for numbers or a sentence written backwards.
With a bit of creativity you can create a password that is impossible to guess.

3) Update your passwords

A lot of people find it hard to remember passwords so once one is set and becomes familiar, it’s natural to want to keep it indefinitely. However to best protect your applications and personal information, you should change your passwords regularly. A good rule of thumb is to make a change once every 12 months. And as tempting as it is to keep a record of your passwords, it’s imperative that you keep your passwords a secret and don’t store them where they could be traced.

4) Make use of the tools available

Password generators enable users to generate random passwords and provide unique, strong, secure sequences.

Strength scales are helpful - if an application is suggesting your combination is weak, take this onboard and strengthen it.

Password managers allow users to store passwords in an encrypted database which means by memorising just one combination you can access all of your passwords.

5) Use more than just a password

Multi-factor authentication is the use of two or more pieces of evidence to prove identity. Each piece of evidence must come from a separate category:

  • knowledge - something only the user could know, such as a password

  • possession - an asset only the user has, for example a security token

  • inherence - something only the user is, which could be facial or fingerprint recognition

If you’ve had the same password for many years or use the same one across many accounts, while the advice above is fresh in your mind, take a little time to make some changes.

For more information on IT security visit www.redloft.com or contact us to find out more about the IT support services available from Redloft Technology.

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