Master Your Passwords with Ease: 10 Simple Tips for Effective Management
The toughest job in today’s digital world is to manage your account securely. While securing your account you need to make sure that you have a strong password. Passwords are an essential part of our lives. Right from shopping online to accessing banking accounts, we need a good password. With new protocols in place such as adding special characters, including small & upper-case letters & setting up an alphanumeric password, it makes it even more difficult for a common user to set a strong password which in turn leads to keeping the same password across multiple accounts. A study suggests that each individual is managing close to 25-30 passwords whereas a security professional might be managing close to 100 passwords! Let’s face it, by now each person has at least reached that stage once in their life where they don’t remember what their password was. Unless you are a superhuman or a supercomputer, isn’t possible to remember all passwords. An individual has multiple accounts, and it can be challenging to manage & track all passwords. I recently came across one research by David M. Higgins where he states, "An average person has more passwords than an average pop song has words” It's understandable why people choose simple passwords, as they have too many to memorize.
Even though all of this seems logical to keep on using the same password across multiple accounts, it is pretty harmful to an individual and I’ll explain why. Many times what I have heard people say is that they have nothing to hide and they are using the same passwords only for non-sensitive accounts. It is quite funny to hear that because it is something that you cannot possibly control. To quote a wonderful example I read in an article – compare this to going on a vacation while keeping your door open just because you are sure you don’t hold any valuables in your house. To add further, imagine someone visiting your house and them changing your locks. Scary right? In today’s times, a user cannot possibly imagine the amount of digital footprint he has online. A single clue can lead to exposing many sensitive things. It is extremely crucial to remember that any hacker needs to be successful just once to hack your account. In this article, I shall share some tips for users to manage multiple passwords and try to make it easy in keeping their accounts secure & organized.
1. Creating a catchphrase: Strong or lengthy passwords make it more difficult for hackers to crack and access your systems. An example of creating a strong password out of a catchphrase is something like assuming “My Favorite Movie Is Casino Royale And my Favorite Character Is 007.” Picking all first letters from the above sentence, while using special characters and using upper / lower cases can result in creating a strong password like -> “MfMicr@fci007” In a similar way, you can always mix and match with your favourite movie characters, your most liked snack or anything that matters to you personally.
2. Using Encryptions: Applying encryptions to your passwords, is an additional security feature to make sure your password remains airtight. In a case where your system is compromised, enabling one-way encryption would make sure that your passwords are protected.
3. Implementing Multi-Factor Authentication: Enabling this option is one of the best ways to protect your credentials. What this feature does is that even after putting your password, users must confirm their identity via one-time-password (OTP) or by approving the request which is sent to their registered device. This helps in a use case where even though your password is compromised, the hacker won’t be able to access your account.
Another option to add an authentication method is to implement biometric verification or face recognition which allows the system to identify the user by recognizing their faces, fingerprints or irises.
4. Testing password strength online: Many-a-times we think that we have created a really strong password just because the length is long although, it isn’t the case. A well-targeted brute force attack using a supercomputer can check anywhere between 10,000 to 1 billion passwords per second. So it’s better to think again while saving that password and you can test the strength of your password from the link shared here: https://bitwarden.com/password-strength/ https://www.passwordmonster.com/
Don’t worry it’s completely safe!
5. Avoiding common & dictionary words: What people generally tend to do is pick and choose any particular/difficult dictionary word and keep that word as their password. There are many software available that hackers can use to search through thousands of dictionary words even in multiple languages within minutes. Hence using words from a dictionary isn’t going to help you out this time!
6. Different passwords for every account: Even though this seems next to impossible, it is a must in today’s era. Statistics from a company called “First Contact” reveals that 51% of people still use the same password for work and personal accounts. Compromising 1 account’s credentials can lead to a domino effect and in turn affect many other accounts.
7. NOT changing the password every 90 days or 180 days (for your personal account): Even though many organizations and compliance standards mandate that you should be changing your passwords every 90 days or otherwise, I believe that for your personal accounts, it is not feasible to change your passwords every quarter or on a bi-yearly basis and the reason is simple – it increases the risk. A common human trait is that if you keep changing your passwords frequently, there is a high possibility that you might note it down somewhere in case you forget, and it leads to a behavior which would result in creating weaker passwords over a period. Hence, the best practice for better password management would be to change them if you think it has been compromised in a data breach or any frauds.
8. Avoiding storing passwords unless you are encrypting those neatly: Noting down your passwords in an excel file, a notepad or in a word document is something you should avoid as those can be easily stolen or compromised. If you are heavily encrypting these files, then this can be one option to consider.
9. Using password manager tools: Although I wouldn’t completely recommend this option, it is worth considering as remembering all passwords is way too difficult and it would result into forgetting or resetting passwords too often. Using password manager tools such as NordPass, RoboFarm, KeyPass or Keeper would make your life easy. Although, relying completely on password manager tools is a
risk as these tools have been prone to data breaches quite a few times.
10. Stay vigilant continuously! No matter how strong your passwords are or how careful you are about your security, there will be chances where a hacker can penetrate your system and get hold of confidential or sensitive information. By using up-to-date software & hardware, using antivirus and enabling firewalls, you would be minimizing the chances of a hacker to get into your systems
March 17, 2023
March 07, 2023
March 06, 2023