From malware to scams, there are plenty of ways people can try to get your information. Being vigilant will solid password protection not only make you more secure, but can also help turn a giant nightmare into a small headache.
Types of Password Protection Scams
Before we get into best practices for password protection, you should know these 3 ways people try to scam your carefully thought out passwords.
Brute Force Attack – A criminal simply runs software that cycles through every combination of letters, numbers, and symbols it can. This process can test a staggering 350 billion guesses a second. Strong passwords of at least 12 characters long make Brute Force Attacks harder to pull off.
Phishing – Criminals use social engineering to trick unsuspecting people into offering up vital information. This can take the form of emails, clickable links, phone calls, and more.
Malware – Refers to any malicious software that attempts to steal, corrupt, exploit, or outright destroy personal data. It has many forms ranging from Keyloggers that record keystrokes made by the user, to Rootkits which allows hackers to remotely take control of a computer.
Learn more about malware.
Now that we know how criminals attack, how do we implement proper password protection to make ourselves more secure?
Don’t Reuse Passwords
It’s tempting to take the easy road and use the same password for everything. After all, we use them for just about everything. However, using the same one for all of your accounts can lead to a domino effect. If one account is compromised, they all are.
If the thought of straining to remember 30 different passwords seems daunting, don’t worry, there are plenty of excellent password managers out there. Stop covering your office computers in sticky notes filled with passwords. For businesses, password managers can be a must.
Create A Strong Password
What exactly makes up a strong password isn’t a mystery. There are a few simple rules to follow to increase password protection and reduce the threat from brute force attacks.
- Don’t use common words like ‘password’. In fact, any single word will be easily cracked through a simple type of brute force attack called a dictionary attack.
- Don’t use personal information. If a criminal has done any research about you, things like birth dates, names, and familiar places will be among the first guesses they make.
- The longer and more varied, the better. Creating a password at least 15 characters long using uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols, is best.
If you’re looking for a fantastic way to create passwords, we love the sentence method. Start by creating a sentence that is personal and easy to remember like “I love taking my dog Bucky to Sunnidale Park in Barrie”. Then, create a rule like only use the first two letters of each word and add ascending numbers in front of each capital . Then you get a password that looks like “Ilotamydo1Buto2Su3Pain4Ba”.
Use Two-Factor Authentication For Excellent Password Protection
If a service or program offers two-factor authentication, always take advantage of it. This extra layer of protection makes your account more secure by requiring at least two items for authentication like a password and a fingerprint. This is an excellent way to deter scams.
Some services like Google use downloadable apps to keep things secure. This means you have to give the okay to a new sign-in attempt directly on your phone.
Two-Factor Authentication even means you can get away with a shorter password due to the extra layer of security. However, if you combine this tool with the above tips, your password will be incredibly secure.
Use A Random Password Generator
If you do have a secure way to store your passwords, a random password generator is a quick and painless way to create an entirely unique and secure password.
The Avast Password Generator is a fantastic place to start. You control how long the password is and what characters to use. All passwords are generated locally on your computer, not even Avast knows what they are!
With your newfound knowledge of password protection, you’re ready to start creating more secure passwords. If you know your old ones are less than stellar, now is the perfect time to revisit them.