5 Password Security Best Practices in 2020

We live in a digital world. It means that we’ve become accustomed to usernames and passwords. Username is your digital identification, whereas your password is your authentication. According to IBM Knowledge Center authentication is the ability to verify that a user is actually who that user declares to be. Simply put, the information presented by the user to verify is a secret known to the user only. Some people don’t find passwords to be the most convenient way of authentication, but we must be aware of password security best practices and tips for password security. Passwords provide the first line of defence against illegal access to your personal information. So, how secure is your password?

It is no secret that our lives exist almost completely online with our personal information guarded by password protection, from mobile banking to other applications. Given that, it’s important that you stay up-to-date on password security best practices. In this blog, you will learn why password security is important and tips for password security by Swiss Cyber Forum.


Is your password secure?

We are increasingly active online. We greatly rely on the internet to carry out many tasks in our daily lives. This means that we are filling our profiles with a massive amount of personal information. For this reason, our activity becomes a lucrative target for cybercriminals. To make sure that every aspect of your online interactions is secure, you must protect your passwords. Briefly, passwords are the ‘front door’ for hackers. So, don’t be an easy target and take control of your digital life!


Password mistakes you should avoid

When used properly, passwords are a very simple way to protect personal information or IT systems from unauthorized access. However, many individuals use easy-to-guess, common and predictable passwords, which expose them to cyber risks.

Besides that, you’ve probably heard so many times that you shouldn’t use the same password on your account, whether be it a social media account or the account you use for Amazon. According to Online Security Survey by Google in February 2019, 52% of respondents stated that they reuse the same password for multiple accounts. 13% of respondents said that they use the same password for all their accounts.

how secure is your password

Please remember that strong password hygiene is vital to prevent theft of your personal information. Avoid these common password mistakes:

  • Avoid easily guessed passwords. The problem basically starts with password recycling, which is a risky practice. Substituting lower case for upper case or vice versa is also password recycling.
  • Don’t add personal information in your passwords. If your password includes your name, surname, birthday, address or phone number, then you must consider changing it.
  • Don’t use the same password across several accounts. This may be the easiest way to remember your passwords. Unfortunately, it is also the fastest way to trouble. Did you know that in 2016, Mark Zuckerberg’s Linkedin, Twitter and Pinterest accounts were hacked, as he was using the same password for multiple social media platforms?

how secure is your password


5 Password security best practices

Managing your passwords may seem inconvenient. However, there are simple ways to keep intruders from taking over your accounts. Let’s take a closer look at five passwords security best practices provided by Swiss Cyber Forum.


1. Make sure your password is complex

So is a long password the way to go? Possibly, yes. Short length passwords are easy to hack. For added security, try to create lengthier passwords. Using upper and lowercase alphanumerical characters is also one of the best practices to boost password security. To increase the complexity of your password, you can add spaces, punctuation, or misspellings to your password. Implementing all these will make your password less predictable. Don’t forget that the length of your password is a significantly important attribute.


2. Use a word that can’t be found in a dictionary

There are multiple ways that criminals use to find passwords. A brute force attack is one of them. These attacks are the random trial-and-error sessions or repeated successive attempts of guessing password combinations. Hackers simply let the bot do the job – executing a high number of attempts per minute until they find a password. If you must use a dictionary word, try these: either combine your password with a number or add punctuation at the beginning or at the end of the word. Simply put, get creative and formulate really unique combinations.


3. When possible, use brackets

Feel free to use curly { }, round ( ), square [ ] or even angle < > brackets. They are rarely used by people. So, this makes them a great way of boosting password security. The more you mix up letters with brackets or symbols, the harder it is for a hacker to compromise it.


4. Use misspelling words

Bad spelling or password typos can actually make a huge difference in your overall password security. Hackers usually are searching for passwords using correct grammar and spellings in their attacks. The potential benefit of this method is the fact that it enables you to create more complicated passwords.


5. Change your passwords periodically

Stay one step ahead of hackers by changing your passwords. But there is a problem that comes with changing your passwords regularly. We don’t actually mean changing a password every month. You may naturally wonder what is the best time to change the password. We would say it is when a website you have an account for is hacked. Additionally, if you have shared your password with somebody else, it is time to change your password. Did you know that 57% of people who have experienced a phishing attack have not changed their password management techniques?

password security best practices


BONUS password security tip

Create a formula. Seriously. If you have a mathematical mind, you can generate a password based on a formula. Although this option is not for everyone, you can create very strong passwords which can prevent your information from being hacked. Some example of this could include the difference between your parents’ birth years. Add this number to your password, combine it with the password security tips as mentioned above.


Now you know how secure is your password

There are several ways to prevent passwords from being hacked. First and foremost, it is important not to use the same password for multiple accounts. Secondly, it is advisable to use non-predictable and complex passwords. We have provided several tips for password security along with password security best practices. Overall, best solution entails a combination of strong password requirements as mentioned above.

For more information, webinars and other opportunities, join Swiss Cyber Forum now, a leading Cyber Security community in Switzerland that aims to improve the digital security of society through education, research, and events.

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