A lot has changed since 2018. We’ve seen innovation and unprecedented milestones in nearly every industry. Civilians are travelling to space, more employees are working remotely, virtual reality experiences are more accessible than ever, and the Smart Home is expanding its reach. We can only imagine what we’ll see hit the markets by 2023. 

In the world of IT and cyber security management, we are constantly evolving our responses and strategies to match the innovation of technology and the cyber threats that attack them. Increased access to the Internet of Things means increased vulnerabilities and opportunities for cybercriminals to take advantage. While it’s an intelligent decision to hire professionals to keep your business data and networks secure, there are also basic practices that can help keep you safe online that never change. The most critical example is using strong, secure passwords.

Why Password Security Matters

password security - hands typing on phone

Your password continues to be the most common method of protecting your sensitive information and data online. Many software companies offer or insist upon methods that strengthen your security, such as multi-factor authentication (MFA). The most common methods of MFA include entering a one-time-use PIN from your mobile device or email account or both. Some websites require you to answer security questions to authenticate your access, even after entering the correct password. 

Advanced operating systems and devices are implementing more sophisticated security methods, such as voice recognition, facial recognition, or requiring your fingerprint to log in. These features still need a lot of work to improve their performance and be accessible for everyone to use. For now, the safest strategy is to follow some basic best practices for choosing and maintaining a secure password.

5 Password Best Practices

Change It Regularly

You don’t need to update your password every week or month unless you work in a highly secure environment where it is written into your policy. Regular changes mean once or twice a year or after a suspected breach or possible hacking. If remembering a secure password feels daunting, read on to the next point.

Use a Password Manager

Wouldn’t it be great if you had an assistant who remembered and protected all your passwords for you? That’s essentially what a password manager does. It can be built right into your computer or web browser, or you can download a distinct app/software to do it for you. Many of them have free options and paid versions for business. They will store your secure passwords and automatically fill in your information each time you log in. They will also notify you if your passwords are weak, repeated, or need updating. 

Make It Strong

If you’re using a password manager, you can adjust the settings to let it know how strong your password needs to be. But if you’re not using one, you’re better to avoid identifying details such as your children’s names or birthdates. Instead, choose random letters, numbers, and symbols. 

No Repeats

It’s essential to choose unique passwords for all of your login locations. If one of your accounts is hacked or part of a breach, any other place that you’ve used that same username and password combination means the hackers can potentially gain access to your other accounts. When all your passwords are different, your other accounts remain safe

Use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

An additional tactic to keep your accounts safe is to choose multi-factor authentication (MFA) whenever possible. While it may feel inconvenient at times, imagine how it will help protect your account in the event a hacker has access to your username and password. If you turn on MFA, the hacker will require access to your phone or email to get into your account. 

The Worst Passwords of 2021

A few years ago, we covered the top 10 worst passwords of 2018, and unfortunately, many of them are still on the list of most common passwords for 2021. We hope that this list shocks you and that you would not dream of using any of these. If you are using a password from the list below, please change it immediately following the best practices above! 

  1. 123456
  2. 123456789
  3. qwerty
  4. password
  5. 12345
  6. qwerty123
  7. 1q2w3e
  8. 12345678
  9. 111111

Cybersecurity Services in Edmonton, Alberta

When your business needs cybersecurity services, Alt-Tech Inc. is here to help protect your business. From policy advice to network monitoring and training, we’ll help keep your data secure and ensure you know how to respond to cyber threats.