How concerned are you about the safety of your data? Have you become worried that vital information may be stolen, corrupted, or otherwise viewed? Unfortunately, all of these scenarios pose real threats in this day and age. While specific strategies such as ensuring that a website possesses a valid SSL certificate and avoiding unsecured wireless hotspots are worthwhile, we need to remember that data breaches often occur due to weak passwords. Let us, therefore, examine five ways in which you can strengthen these vital digital keys.
1. Regular Updates
Professionals recommend changing passwords from time to time. This is one of the most proactive ways to ensure that essential data will not be compromised even if one happens to be discovered. However, avoid overly frequent updates; these may lead to patterns that can be recognized by nefarious individuals and place your details at a greater risk of being compromised. However, it is always prudent to change a password if a device has been lost, stolen, or otherwise fear that suspicious online activity has occurred.
2. The Risk of Auto-Complete Forms
One of the many conveniences associated with the modern Internet is that pages can be accessed in a fraction of a second. Well-known browsers such as Chrome and Firefox have expedited how we interact with the online community through the use of auto-complete forms. One standard method includes the option to “remember” passwords used to access regularly visited portals such as emails or social media accounts.
However, what if another individual happens to gain access to your device? They will be provided with a quick and simple means to view sensitive information. While remembering passwords is a convenient option, it is not without its risks. Useful methods such as Single Sign-On (SSO) software can provide helpful alternatives without compromising your security.
3. A Bit of Variety Goes a Long Way
Would you ever use the same key to access your business, home, and vehicle? Of course not. This very same principle should be applied when considering the security of your online passwords. Those who use a single password place all of their information in jeopardy, as discovering its contents will provide hackers with universal access to multiple accounts.
On the contrary, make it a point to create different passwords for specific websites. While this approach may seem slightly laborious, it is well worth the initial effort. This is even more relevant if you happen to navigate to numerous different websites daily or if you happen to work remotely. A bit of prudence can certainly go a long way in this day and age!
4. The Power of Two-Factor Authentication
There are many ways in which websites keep proprietary information secure. Many of these involve viewing modern security in “layers of protection.” This is when the notion of two-factor authentication comes into play. Two-factor authentication will require a user to provide additional identity proof other than a password alone. Let’s look at a typical example.
Imagine for a moment that you log into your bank account to perform an online transaction. After the initial request is sent, you receive an SMS message which asks you to confirm the action. As we can see, two different steps are required before the transaction can be completed. This adds an extra layer of security to your password, and if it happens to be breached, you will still be safeguarded against fraud or data theft.
5. The Elements of the Password Itself
Hackers and automated programs such as malware and phishing algorithms are incredibly clever regarding the type of information they can uncover. This is why weak passwords will always pose a risk. Those who use data that might be easily accessible could very well be jeopardizing their online safety. Examples of what not to use as a password include:
- A National Insurance number.
- Your birthday
- Your name or the name of a loved one
Passwords should instead be much more complicated and harder to replicate. Most experts recommend using random character strings of numbers and letters and including at least one upper-case element. In this case, the password itself will be extremely difficult (or nearly impossible) to crack.
Cybersecurity threats cannot be overstated in this day and age. As passwords represent veritable “front doors” too sensitive information, they must remain safe and secure at all times. Following the steps mentioned above will provide you with peace of mind knowing that your private information remains safe from prying eyes.
Author Bio: This article was written by Eloise Tobler of Wisetek Store. Wisetek Store was created to give our customers access to high-quality, reliable, and affordable refurbished laptops.