PASSWORD GUIDELINES TO STOP CYBER HACKS

FIVE BUSINESS PASSWORD GUIDELINES THAT WILL HELP KEEP YOU FREE FROM CYBER HACKS 

1. Scheduled Password Resets 

You are told to change their passwords often, yet few actually ever changed them. Thankfully, organizations have options to use business software platforms such as Microsoft 365 or G Suite. Both offering a maximum password age that can be preset to dictate how long you can keep a password before you have to change it. For most small businesses, 30, 60, or 90 days are sufficient values for forced password reset. If you manage sensitive data often, or if a recent event has given you cause for concern we recommend updating your password to prevent any chance of a Cyber Security Breach from happening. 

However, given that not all activity will take place in the office, on company devices, and through company endorsed messaging apps, you should adopt this “best practice” at home too.

2. Keep It Complex

Avoiding the temptation to use a password that’s associated with a personal connection (nickname with DOB, etc.) is difficult, but you should assume that a cybercriminal already has some personal information about you. This info can be used to crack the code and expose a password. Instead, be sure to follow the protocol below when generating a new password:

  • Passwords must have at least seven characters.
  • Passwords can’t contain your name or any part of your full name.
  • Passwords must use at least three of the four available character types: lowercase letters, uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols.

3. Don’t Share Your Password 

You’re out on the road and call someone back at the office (or home) with the following request “Hey, can you login into my work account?”. While they may be able to provide that urgent bit of information you need before your big meeting, this move can one day return to bite you in the backside. Under no circumstance should you provide anyone with your password, no matter how much you trust them. The person you trust may leave the company one day, or may simply be careless with the knowledge they now have. And since must users reuse the same password for multiple applications you have now provided the key for access to private banking, personal email access and more…. DON’T SHARE IT! 

4. Don’t Write It Down

Never ever write down a password, be it digitally or on paper. Your smartphone, laptop, iPad or notebook can be stolen, lost, or left behind at a cafe and fall into the hands of the ill-intentioned.  If you must keep your passwords stored invest in a sophisticated application, don’t take the free version. The best and most secure password managers will require payment, it’s a small fee for total peace of mind. 

5. Use A Password Manager 

Using a password manager offers the ability to generate a unique and strong password for every account and application that you use. It will do so without requiring you to memorize or write down (see #4 above) the complex (see #2) strings of characters and will help protect you from password attacks. Top password management system capabilities include encryption, cross-platform and cross-browser synchronization, mobile device support, secure sharing of credentials, and support for multi-factor authentication. Digital Trends has provided an updated 2018 list of top password managers for Windows, MacOS, iOS and Android.