How to keep your passwords secure

February 19, 2020


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Criminals are targeting hospitals and businesses around the world with ransomware. Insecure passwords can make your company vulnerable to this kind of attack. Many people use weak passwords, or do not follow password best practices. Some of the biggest mistakes people makes are:

1) Failure to change passwords: Changing your passwords periodically keeps your company safe. At the same time, making your employees change passwords too often can be frustrating, and cause them to rely on insecure methods to remember their passwords. The National Institute of Standards and Technology recommends changing your passwords:

  • Once a year
  • If you have malware on your device
  • Someone has had unauthorized access to your account
  • A person using the password no longer needs it
  • You logged into the account on a public or shared device

These steps will help keep your company safe. Even if a criminal gets a password, they won’t be able to do as much damage, since the password will eventually change.

2) Re-using passwords: It is important to avoid reusing passwords. Many people reuse passwords because we are human and remembering many different passwords is hard. Nevertheless, you must resist the urge. Reusing passwords poses a security risk. If you use the same password for multiple accounts, and one of them is compromised, it puts all accounts at risk. You can help your employees keep track of unique passwords with a password bank on a secure, internal server.

3) Using weak passwords: It is also important to create strong passwords. A recent report from the U.K. National Cyber Security Centre (NSCS) says that 23.2 million people around the globe who had their accounts hacked were using “123456” as their password. The following passwords were included in the NSCS report as insecure:

  • 123456 (23.2 million users)
  • 123456789 (7.7 million users)
  • password (3.6 million users)
  • You can use password generators to help create stronger passwords.

These steps are simple, but they can make a big difference. To learn more about cybersecurity and better password ideas, contact Vanguard Resources.