In the era of identity fraud, database leaks, and sloppy cybersecurity, committing to password strength is one of the easiest ways to improve security—and one of the most common steps working professionals forget to take.
We all know not to set “password” as our password—but what makes a good set of security credentials, anyway?
A strong password is complex, varied, and original.
You can still create complex, original passwords that are easy to remember, so long as they follow the agreed-upon guidelines. A strong password must:
- Be at least 12 characters long. Most sites that require a login only need 8 characters to create a password. The industry standard for a strong password is 12-14, and longer is always better.
- Include a mix of numbers, symbols, and both lowercase and uppercase letters. There are only 26 letters in the English alphabet. When you consider uppercase and lowercase versions, that gives you 56 character options. Numbers add another 10, and symbols even more—how tough is it to crack a password when it relies on a custom mix of characters? Even the strongest password-cracking software will take years to come close to an accurate guess when a password is varied enough.
- Include no dictionary words, whether alone or in combination. It’s easier to guess a password when it contains familiar words, like “password,” “ketchup,” or your spouse’s name. If you run a bakery, the password “cake” would be easy to remember—but also FAR too easy to guess. Similarly, “frostedcake” adds some complexity, but not much.
- Use no obvious symbol substitutions. Common substitutions are used in chatrooms around the world—“@” for the letter A, “!” for the letter I, “0” for O, and so on. While these help make passwords easier to remember, they are also easy to guess.
- Be different from any other password you’ve used before. This is the hardest habit to break. While it is very easy to use the same password for every login, this is one of the easiest ways a hacker has to access all of your critical information. Ask yourself: “Do I use the same password for my bank account, my Amazon account, and my work email?” If a hacker gains access to one of those logins, what’s stopping them from taking a trip through the rest of your information?
Strong passwords can be tough to remember—and that’s okay!
When in doubt, a string of random numbers, letters, and symbols is the best model for a strong password. However, these can be borderline impossible to remember—and the last thing you want to do is write down all those complex passwords and leave a sheet lying around for someone to find it.
You can use a password generator to create a complex password that will leave any hacker flummoxed. The best way to keep track of these is in a password storage system, like the GTS Password Portal. Our system offers tiered access for everyone in your company: you can store personal passwords in your personal portal, and give access to shared passwords through a company portal.
Interested in learning more about cybersecurity for 2020? Give us a call at (904) 606-6011 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d be happy to tell you more about the password portal, offer tips for improving your logins, and help address any cybersecurity issues you may have. We’re here to help!