Security & Technology Blog

Protect your online accounts and company data with a password manager

Are you someone who uses the same password for multiple online accounts? If so, you’re part of the two-thirds of people who do so, according to a 2019 Google study. Do you go out of your way to keep your passwords short, so they’re easy to remember? An analysis from Cybernews stated more than 15 billion passwords have an average length of eight characters or less. Have you shared an online account password with someone else? You’re not alone. In the same Google study, 43% or respondents did the same.

As you can imagine, all of these actions factor into the increase in risk to your online accounts. Using the same password across accounts increases exposure to your personal data, if your information is leaked. Short passwords are easier for cybercriminals to hack, and sharing your password just adds one more layer of vulnerability.
To help combat these pitfalls, organizations will typically implement password guidelines for their staff members and users. By having rules in place, it helps ensure that your password is deemed strong enough to not be hacked. Along with not reusing or sharing your information, password complexity plays a key role in protecting your personal or organizational data. 

Everyone has been prompted with password complexity requirements whether they know it or not. Password complexity tracks how hard a password is to guess in relation to how many attempts it took to crack. It can also be used in requirements from an organization that users must follow. If your company needs to implement or update password requirements, Microsoft and VeriClouds lay out some great password complexity recommendations: 

  • Don't use a password that is the same or like one you use on any other websites or accounts
  • Don't use a single words like password or Iloveyou
  • Remove periodic password resets for user accounts
  • Require sign up for multi-factor authentication
  • Make passwords hard to guess, even by those close to you, such as the names and birthdays of your friends and family, your pets name, and phrases you like to use
  • Require length but relax settings around complexity

 

These recommendations can be used when creating a new account and when updating your current account passwords.

You may notice that password recommendations have changed over the years. What made sense 10 years ago, might not be the best solution today. One that may strike you as different is to relax settings around the complexity of passwords. It was common practice in the past to require complexity meaning mixed casing and use of symbols and digits. According to Vericlouds an analysis on password breaches and human behavior found that high complexity requirements correlate with passwords being created in a very predictable pattern to minimally satisfy the requirements. They also found in a high number of cases where one uppercase is required most humans will choose the first character. Similarly, if symbols or numbers are required these are often found at the end of the password. Therefore, when organizations require complexity, employees may create easy to guess passwords for hackers and cause serious issues for everyone.

While complexity requirements are helpful, all passwords can eventually be hacked. To protect yourself and your organization, consider combining proper password complexity requirements with password management software. Password management software has many beneficial features that will help protect your accounts and your organization’s data.

 

Password Management Software

As the internet has grown, so has the number of passwords created over the years. It’s common to reuse passwords across multiple accounts. This can be dangerous to you and your organization because once your password is cracked hackers will have access to your accounts and can cause internal damage. A solution to avoid this trouble is to invest in password management software.

Password management isn’t at the top of many business leaders' minds, but it’s something that can save everyone from a huge headache. According to Data Prot 51% of people use the same password for work and personal accounts, increasing the chances of an attack coming from an employee’s personal account. With password management software, it can help organize all your accounts so creating new passwords is easy and all in one place.

Saving multiple passwords is just one beneficial feature of this software. Password sharing is also crucial because it helps in sending login credentials over a secure and protected network, unlike text messages and email. Well-made password management software should have password sharing as a built-in feature. 

A beneficial feature is a password generator. With a generator built in, you can choose the length and how complex you want a password to be.  By having access to the generator, you’ll never have to think of a new password, again. Since you’ll be able to save them all in the same place together, you’ll only have to re member one main password.

Another feature is end-to-end encryption. This guarantees that both in transit and at rest your data is cryptic and can’t be read by anyone. When you send something private it ensures that the person you sent the message to is the only one who will see it. 

These are just some of the benefits of this software. If you think your organization could benefit from a password management software with these features and more, please reach out to us today!

Password complexity and password management software's are an important part of cybersecurity, but don’t forget about other important tools like two-factor authentication and incident response plans! You can visit our past blog articles to read more about these topics. Follow us to stay up to date with the current world of cybersecurity! 

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References: 
Bounev, S. (2021, May 13). NIST password guidelines 2021: Challenging traditional password manage. VeriClouds. Retrieved January 5, 2023, from https://www.vericlouds.com/nist-password-guidelines-2021-challenging-traditional-password-management/

KwekuA. (2022, November 22). Password policy recommendations - microsoft 365 admin. Password policy recommendations - Microsoft 365 admin | Microsoft Learn. Retrieved January 5, 2023, from https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/admin/misc/password-policy-recommendations?view=o365-worldwide

Masiliauskas , P. (2022, December 22). Most common passwords 2023 - is yours on the list? | CyberNews. Cybernews. Retrieved January 5, 2023, from https://cybernews.com/best-password-managers/most-common-passwords/

Vojinovic, I. (2022, December 21). Save your data with these empowering password statistics. Dataprot. Retrieved January 10, 2023, from https://dataprot.net/statistics/password-statistics/

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