The most common passwords of 2023 so far provide a key indication of user behavior worldwide when it comes to choosing passwords. This data also reveals some pitfalls of password creation, giving us insight into how to protect against unauthorized access. For instance, all 10 of the most used passwords aren’t particularly complex or hard to guess, with six passwords on the list having fewer than eight characters.
This highlights how important it is for users to create unique and secure passwords to protect their information. Even with the rise of technologies addressing password vulnerabilities, it remains essential for individuals and businesses alike to prioritize strong password creation and usage policies.
The dangers of using common passwords
Using common passwords can pose a significant risk to your online security and make it easier for cybercriminals to gain access to your accounts. For one, common passwords such as “password,”,“123456,” or “qwerty” can easily be cracked using brute force attacks, so they don’t really offer much protection against hackers.
How to create stronger passwords for better security
Setting strong passwords is an important step in protecting your business’s digital security. Here are some tips you can follow to create strong passwords.
1. Nominate passwords that include a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols
When choosing a password, use a combination of alphanumeric and special characters, as well as both uppercase and lowercase letters. This helps add complexity to your passwords and makes them harder to guess.
2. Don’t go fewer than eight characters
A longer password ensures that there are more password combination possibilities, making it less likely for hackers to crack the code even if they use sophisticated software.
3. Don’t include personal information
Hackers can use social engineering techniques to guess passwords based on personal information such as names, dates of birth, or other personal details available online, so it's best to not use these when creating passwords.
4. Don’t reuse existing passwords
Recycling the same password across multiple accounts can leave you vulnerable if one account were to become compromised, as the hacker would then have access to all other accounts that use the same password.
5. Change passwords regularly
Even if you have strong passwords, there’s still a risk of a breach if cybercriminals manage to acquire your login credentials. To limit the time that malicious actors can use your old password, change passwords after a set period, such as every three months. This helps guarantee that even if your password falls into the hands of a hacker, it will be obsolete and unusable.
6. Leverage multifactor authentication (MFA)
MFA strengthens security by requiring users to provide another verification factor on top of entering their password before being granted account access. This makes it more difficult for cybercriminals to facilitate a breach, since they would also need access to other verification factors, such as a biometric component or a one-time password sent to a registered device, to access accounts.
7. Never share your passwords
Sharing passwords increases the risk of unauthorized access and potentially compromising sensitive data. Even if the person with whom the password is shared is trustworthy, there is no telling whether they will be hacked or accidentally compromise the password shared with them.
8. Use a password manager
A password manager creates and stores complex passwords for each user, reducing the risk of weak or reused passwords that attackers can easily compromise. It also eliminates the need for employees to remember multiple passwords while providing a central location for managing passwords, making it easier for IT admins to monitor and control access to sensitive information.
Signing up with a reliable managed IT services provider like Cutting Edge Technologies is one of the best ways to ensure that your company's passwords are secure. With the latest technologies and a team of cybersecurity experts, we offer comprehensive protection to guard your data against potential cyberthreats. Contact us today.