Most of you probably did not know that today is National Password Day. To help celebrate the day we would like to take a minute to discuss how you can use your passwords to improve your cyber security today.
Passwords have been the standard means of protecting our accounts since around 1961. And even though it did not take very long for people to figure out how to hack passwords, not much has changed in the past 60 years. Here are three reasons that contribute to poor password habits.
- We have poor memories
- We have way too many passwords to keep up with
- With so many breaches, fatigue sets in, and many people just give up
A study by Virginia Tech’s Computer Science Department, which looked at 28.8 million users and their 61.5 million passwords over 8 years found:
- 52% of users reused or only slightly modified passwords
- 38% of the 28.8 million users had used the same password for two different services
- Shopping sites had the highest ratio of password reuse (> 85%) with email in second place (> 62%)
- More than 70% of users continued to use the same leaked password more than a year after a data breach
- Cybercriminals have learned many of the basic password modification patterns used today, allowing attackers to quickly guess a large number of passwords with minimal training
And the complexity does matter. Using a 4-digit passcode means there are 10,000 combinations. Adding numbers and letters take the combinations to 1,679,616. Make the characters case-sensitive and you are up to over 14 million combinations. Make it 10 case-sensitive characters and numbers, and you are up to 839,299,365,868,340,000 possible combinations.
What can we do to improve our Passwords?
- Use strong passwords
- At least 8 characters, preferably 10+
- Use upper/lower case Alphanumeric
- Include special characters
- Use unique passwords, do not reuse the same password for different logins
- Do not use common things from your life, i.e., family names, DOB, anniversaries, etc., that cybercriminals can find on our social media
- Do not write them on a piece of paper or in a Word or Excel document. Use a good password keeper utility. You need to remember 1 password and can cut and paste complex passwords into your logins. There are a lot of options out there and some are even free, and most will generate random passwords for you
- Add two factor or multi-factor authentication to all your logins when available
With just a few cautious steps you can take a huge leap forward in your personal and business cyber security. Do not wait, take the time on National Password Day to make improvements in your password protection.
For more information or to learn how we can help protect your business, contact us at email@example.com or call us at 704.754.8484.