Written by 
Ty

Best Practices for Creating Strong Passwords

Published On 
December 4, 2023

The security of your online accounts is crucial and a strong password acts as the first line of defense against unauthorized access to your personal and professional data. As IT support professionals, we have a lot of tools at our disposal to detect account breaches for our corporate clients, but starting out with a good password policy is always important. Using weak or predictable passwords can make you an easy target for cybercriminals, business or not, so it's important to understand how to create one that is secure as possible. Here are some best practices for creating strong passwords:

  1. Use a Mix of Characters: Your password should include a combination of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. This diversity makes it harder for hackers to guess your password using brute force attacks, where they try every possible combination.
  2. Opt for Length Over Complexity: A longer password is generally more secure than a shorter one with complex characters. Aim for at least 12 characters. Longer passwords increase the number of possible combinations, significantly reducing the risk of your password being cracked.
  3. Avoid Personal Information: Do not use easily obtainable information like your name, birthdate, or common words. Hackers often use personal information in their guess attempts, as many people incorporate these details into their passwords.
  4. Steer Clear of Common Words and Phrases: Avoid using common phrases, slang, or idiomatic expressions. These are often included in password cracking dictionaries used by hackers.
  5. Use a Password Manager: Whenever possible, use a trusted password manager and randomize the passwords for each website you have accounts on.

The Importance of Unique Passwords for Each Website

Using the same password across multiple websites is like using a single key for your car, house, and office. If a hacker discovers this key, all these areas are compromised. Similarly, if your password for one site is exposed, all your accounts with that password are at risk. By using unique passwords, you contain the potential damage to just one account if a breach occurs.

Embracing Password Managers

Remembering a different, complex password for each website can be daunting. This is where password managers come in handy. A password manager securely stores your passwords in an encrypted format. You only need to remember one strong master password to access all your other passwords.

Benefits of Password Managers:

  • Convenience: Auto-fill features for login information.
  • Security: Encrypted storage of passwords, much safer than writing them down or trying to remember them.
  • Peace of Mind: Most password managers offer additional security features like two-factor authentication, making your accounts even more secure.

What is the Best Password Manager?

Numerous password managers are available, but our top recommendation for clients consistently is 1Password. This choice stands out for its user-friendly interface, effective mobile performance, and affordability, especially for personal plans.

Convincing someone to switch to a password manager can often be challenging. The idea of entrusting all login details to a single application can cause unease for many, and adapting to new technological tools can be a source of frustration. However, when we demonstrate the advantages of employing completely randomized passwords, a trial run with 1Password has frequently proven effective in persuading individuals to embrace this change.

Conclusion

In the era of increasing online threats, the importance of using strong, unique passwords cannot be overstated. By adopting these best practices and utilizing a password manager, you can significantly enhance the security of your digital life.

Just don't forget multifactor authentication.

How Can We Help?
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Lumitiv is an experienced Calgary based IT Support and Cyber Security provider with over 14 years on the job. We help simplify and guide businesses through the technical landscape.
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