The Plight of the Password
A strong password is your first line of defense against intruders and imposters. Scroll down for a video based on these tips. Never give out your password to anyone.RBC Cyber Security - Powerful Passwords
Newest advice: Use a passphrase. Such a phrase should be relatively long — at least 15 characters. Some sites require special characters as well as numbers and upper case letters. Make the password at least 15 characters long. The longer the better. Longer passwords are harder for thieves to crack. Include numbers, capital letters and symbols.
Password thieves are onto this. This might seem obvious but studies have found that a lot of people post their password on their monitor with a sticky note.
The Plight of the Password
If you must write it down, hide the note somewhere where no one can find it. Consider using a password manager. Programs or web services like RoboForm Windows only or Lastpass Windows and Mac let you create a different very strong password for each of your sites.
But you only have to remember the one password to access the program or secure site that stores your passwords for you. Use multi-factor authentication.
Many services offer an option to verify your identity if someone logs on to your account from an unrecognized device. In most cases, you will not be required to use this code when logging on from a known device such as your own computer, tablet or phone. Be very careful before clicking on a link even if it appears to be from a legitimate site asking you to log in, change your password or provide any other personal information.
Make sure your devices are secure. The best password in the world might not do you any good if someone is looking over your shoulder while you type or if you forget to log out on a cybercafe computer. Some new phones allow you to register fingerprints, which are quite secure.Passwords provide a false sense of security for both users and the companies who demand them. The password requirement to protect the user and ultimately sensitive company datacreates an entirely new frontier, both from a security perspective and for criminal activity.
Passwords are the simplest go-to for system security and are the weakest link in the cybersecurity chain.
Criminals know passwords are often the only thing between them and massive amounts of data they can sell for a profit in the underground. Password breaches lead threat actors to a cache of information that generates anywhere from a few dollars to thousands per breach. Some of the largest public breaches have occurred in the past few years, revealing security vulnerabilities that exposed billions of pieces of personal data users assumed were protected behind the veil of their passwords.
Few companies invite a breach, yet when they happen, most are surprised at how human error or simply being unaware of a vulnerability put the company at risk. These are the most common exposures, as companies struggle to stay in step with criminal hacking techniques. A few notable instances when innocent mistakes morphed into something much bigger:. Twitter recently urged users to immediately change their password s after they discovered a glitch that stored unencrypted passwords in an internal log.
Even though it was an innocent mistake, anyone who may have had access to that log could have, in theory, exploited those passwords. Smartly, Twitter also recommended users consider changing their password on all services where they may have reused their Twitter password. Equifax found that an application vulnerability on their website resulted in nearly million consumer passwords being exposed. Uber found themselves the victim of a hacking attack that impacted 57 million Uber users andUber drivers.
Hackers use different automated methods to crack passwords, including trying the most commonly used passwords and brute force attacks that attempt every possible character combination. These attacks are run at massive scale and speed, taking one account compromise to land the criminals in a treasure trove of sensitive corporate data. Even when they are strong, many people reuse the same password across multiple accounts.
Though 91 percent of people know using the same password for multiple accounts is risky59 percent still do it. Reusing passwords and accessing apps like Dropbox and GitHub with personal emails is a challenge for most companies. One of the more prolific examples of how password reuse can be used against someone is with Mark Zuckerberg.
When LinkedIn was hacked and millions of usernames and passwords sold on the dark web, LinkedIn users were encouraged to change their account password. Zuckerberg did so but neglected to change the same password for his other social media accounts. Employees introduce the most risk to an organization.
They click on phishing emails, log into bogus sites, use weak passwords, access secure sites from unsecured devices and unwittingly download viruses and malware. Most employees are completely unaware of their mistakes. In the Anthem breachhackers were able to implement a phishing campaign to compromise multiple C-level executive accounts.
How Secure Is My Password?
Because none of the executives used additional authentication mechanisms, hackers were able to easily access the entire data warehouse and remove more than 80 million customer records — all from only five breached accounts. The social music streaming company 8Tracks was surprised to learn that an employee inadvertently leaked the passwords of 18 million user accounts.
The company was able to source the breach to a GitHub repository that did not require two-factor authentication. The common denominator in each of these breaches is the password. If cracked, the password is like an HOV lane for criminals, directing them to what they really want: personal, profitable information they can sell en masse. Unfortunately, many consumers and companies believe the password is protection enough.
There are ways for users to fortify their accounts beyond passwords, yet few choose to do so because it slows down the login process. Password managers and two-factor authentication are substantially more secure methods but nearly 90 percent of Americans still keep track of their online passwords by either memorizing them or writing them down, and fewer than 30 percent use two-factor authentication.
Many companies encrypt passwords; however, the type of encryption matters. Weaker algorithms, like unsalted md5 and sha1, are commonly used yet easily deciphered and immediately converted back into the readable passwords that fuel attacks.
The Ashley Madison incident involved 36 million leaked passwords that were hashed with the bcrypt encryption type, clearly not strong enough to prevent a breach. Companies may also attempt to track password exposures, but the process can be labor intensive, frequent false positives desensitize them to real threats, and they often miss many of the compromises.How Passwords are Stolen.
Online security is a major concern for most online services providers, some providers protect their online users through multi-factor authentications, and up-to-date most provide 1 level authentication - the password.
As we use more online services including internal networks — Intranetswe are forced to create and use more and more passwords, and if we go via the simple route, we will end up with using the same password everywhere. And may be something simple to remember weak passwordespecially where some online services providers allow for weak or bad passwords, see Worst Passwords of So, spending some time to strengthen your passwords could save you a lot of time and headaches in the future.
Today, I will talk about protecting your online account by creating a strong password that is easy to remember, hard to crack or brute-force attacked, avoiding bad or weak passwords. When you are creating a strong password, it can help to know the tactics hackers use to steal them. Here are some of the most frequently used tactics:. Programs that often use personal information found online — such as names, birth dates, room numbers, check or card numbers, phone numbers, pin numbers, parents or friends names, pets name and more names or numbers that are related to them - as a starting point.
These programs can even search for a word spelled backwards. TIP : Stay away from using any personal identity information when creating a password. Programs that run every word in a dictionary as a password in hope of finding a perfect match. This type of attack works because many users insist on using ordinary words as passwords. Dictionary attacks are rarely successful against passwords that are multiple-word phrases, and unsuccessful against passwords that are combinations of uppercase and lowercase letters mixed up with numbers and symbols.
TIP : Stay away from dictionary words, even in a foreign language, use phrases or complex combinations as passwords. Programs try usernames and passwords, over and over again, until they gain access to account. These attacks can take several hours, days, months, and even years to run. The amount of time it takes to complete these attacks is dependent on the complexity of the password, and the strength of the computer s being used in attack.
TIP : The best way to beat such an attack is with a long, complex password that uses upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. To help prevent brute-force attacks many systems only allow a user to make a mistake in entering their username or password three or four times. If the user exceeds these attempts, the system will either lock them out of the system or prevent any future attempts for a set amount of time. You may get a call from a service you use asking for username and password for solving a problem.
You may get an urgent IM or e-mail message from a service you use to alarm or excite you into responding. These e-mails often direct you to phony web sites designed to trick you into providing personal information, such as your user name and password. Passwords are not always stolen online.Or better yet, to finally realize that the password you thought was good still needs some work. By now you know the basics of password security. All of that advice still stands, and you should keep it up.
Nice work! WIRED asked a field of password security experts for their favorite unexpected advice, the best practices that might save you the most headache in the long run. Here are seven tips and tricks to keep your digital locks secure. In fact, a long password that comprises only lower-case letters can be more beneficial than crafting just the right combination of alphanumeric gibberish.
Slain also suggests avoiding common sports and pop culture terms— Star Wars phrases were especially popular last year—regardless of length. The more common a password is, the less secure it will be, so go with something no one else would ideally, a random string.
Many password input fields now require you to use a combination of upper case and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. Just keep them separated. If you do that, you get very little benefit from adding these special characters.
Avoiding front- or backloading your passwords with special characters also gives you a lot more real estate to work with, which creates a bigger bottleneck for anyone trying to break in. It would take years for someone to crack.
The main point here, really, is that your passwords are only as secure as the sites to which you entrust them. Or, you know, skip the whole thing and use a password manager. Passwords are hard. They should be! You're right to do everything you can to make your password as safe as possible.
But it might also help to remember that most people don't need a digital Fort Knox. A digital combination lock should do just fine. Yes, that's still a lot of guesses. But if anything, it's a reminder that if you do commit to password best practices, the bad guys are probably going to move right along. When deployed properly, passwords are pretty good. This goes double for those on the admin side of the aisle.
Instead, Wynne suggests adding a layer of more robust authentication, like cryptographic credentials, or a biometric identifier think fingerprint scanner.
Which, hey! As great as an airtight password is, anything that makes them a little easier to achieve is more than welcome. For next level security, just go ahead and get a Yubikey. If that feels like too much, a password manager would still up your game. Alright, fine. At the very least, follow these 7 steps for better passwords. Getty Images. Passwords tips.July 14, One often overlooked way to keep sensitive information safe is paying extra attention to password security.
Use the same password across services and devices, and they can take over your digital identity. Passwords are the only control you have to secure your data with most systems these days.
Creating secure passwords is possible. One trick you can use if you can't remember completely randomized passwords is to create a passphrase instead of a password. Use spaces to make a sentence and incorporate numbers and special characters in place of letters.
For example: w1Nt3r iZ com;nG? Be sure to use a mix of alphanumeric characters and symbols, along with capitalization. And remember, the easier a password is to guess, the more dangerous it is. As such, a hacker who isn't in possession of your phone won't be able to sign in, even if the hacker knows your password. Two-factor authentication helps you protect your accounts by adding a second step to the login process. They also make it unnecessary to recall anything but a master password.
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We use the same password across different sites; we use passwords that are easy for others to figure out — and just hope for the best. The most secure options will be those that answer no to both of these questions. This project was supported by Grant No. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author s and do not necessarily represent the views of Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.
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Password Safety. Focus on length. The best passwords are at least 12 — 15 characters long, and can contain letters, numbers and symbols — which sounds like a lot. But remember — the important part is length! Lowercase letters on their own are just as fine as mixing it up with numbers and symbols, as long as the password is long enough.
Use different passwords for accounts that contain sensitive or personally identifying information. Just as you use different keys to protect different places, use different passwords to protect important accounts. Luckily, password managers - tools that store and protect passwords like banks store and protect money — can help!
These tools can also create passwords that are incredibly hard to crack. All of your passwords whether you created them yourself or the password manager did it for you are kept within an encrypted vault, which can only be opened with a master password.
Does the company see or store your master password? Use two-factor or multi-factor authentication. It sounds pretty fancy, but all it really means is instead of just entering a password to log in to your account, you will also need to enter a second piece of information.
You can usually find this option in the account settings or security settings of the online service. You then enter that code on the website and, voila! It confirms you are who you say you are, because you verified you have the email account, cell phone, etc. Be wary of single sign-on. Many websites offer you the ability to use your social media or email account credentials to sign into their website, without having to create a new account.
While this can be helpful because it means one less account you have to remember a username and password for, there are a number of possible risks involved with using it.And if you use that simple password across multiple accounts—as a reported 92 percent of online users do—that puts all of your data at risk. Here are eight tips for ensuring your passwords are as strong as possible. Hackers use multiple methods for trying to get into your accounts.
The most rudimentary way is to personally target you and manually type in letters, numbers, and symbols to guess your password. The longer and more complex your password is, the longer this process takes. Passwords that are three characters long take less than a second to crack. Long passwords are good; long passwords that include random words and phrases are better. If your letter combinations are not in the dictionary, your phrases are not in published literature, and none of it is grammatically correct, they will be harder to crack.
Randomly mix up symbols and numbers with letters. You could substitute a zero for the letter O or for the letter Afor example.
If your password is a phrase, consider capitalizing the first letter of each new word, which will be easier for you to remember. These only make your password easier to guess.
On that note, if you are required to choose security questions and answers when creating an online account, select ones that are not obvious to someone browsing your social media accounts. When hackers complete large-scale hacks, as they have recently done with popular email servers, the lists of compromised email addresses and passwords are often leaked online. If your account is compromised and you use this email address and password combination across multiple sites, your information can be easily used to get into any of these other accounts.
Use unique passwords for everything. Password managers are services that auto-generate and store strong passwords on your behalf. These passwords are kept in an encrypted, centralized location, which you can access with a master password.
Many services are free to use and come with optional features such as syncing new passwords across multiple devices and auditing your password behavior to ensure you are not using the same one in too many locations. And do not plaster your password on a sticky note on your work computer.
The more sensitive your information is, the more often you should change your password.
Once it is changed, do not use that password again for a very long time. Hackers could keep trying to crack your passwords no matter how strong you make them. Discover will help you to protect your identity by monitoring thousands of risky websites and alert you if they find your social security number.
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