Celebrating World Password Day With 12 Tips From Cybersecurity Experts

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World Password Day is the perfect opportunity to reevaluate your password practices — are you sure your logins are properly protected? Check out these 12 top tips from cybersecurity industry leaders to improve your password habits.

Passwords are as tricky to create and manage as they are vital to your daily life, both in and out of the office. Passwords grant you access to your email accounts, your office systems, and programs, your banking information, your social media, etc.

World Password Day falls on May 6th this year, and it’s the ideal time to remind all business owners of the importance of protecting personal and professional data with selective and secure passwords.

12 Tips To Make Your Passwords More Secure, Memorable, And Manageable

Don’t be one of the 23 million account holders still using “123456”. Follow these best practices, offered by IT industry leaders from across the country,  to make sure your passwords are strong:

  1. Don’t Change Your Passwords Too Often

“In 2020, the NIST updated their password guidelines and one of the most glaring changes was recommending that users NOT change their passwords periodically. Instead, they recommended using very complex passwords, with upper and lower cases, numbers and special characters.

The thinking is that if users are forced to change their passwords periodically, even if it’s every 90 days or more, they will tend to create easier passwords to remember them yet that creates the risk that the password can be cracked faster. “

  1. Don’t Repeat Your Passwords

“Avoid keeping one password for everything. Use a password manager like LastPass that can generate more complex passwords instead. With our lives virtually on smartphones, you can also add the LastPass app to make it super easy to auto-fill passwords on your phone as well.”

“Do not recycle passwords. The dark web never forgets a compromised password.”

  1. Follow A Keyboard Pattern

“Want to create the world’s toughest password, use it, and not know what it is? Use a pattern on your keyboard.

Simply start in position and move your finger around pressing keys in a specific pattern. You can go up to the number row as well and get really complicated and push the shift key a few times to get upper case and symbols.

Feel free to create a zigzag line, or go up and down or even create a square. You don’t have to memorize cryptic passwords anymore — just a simple sequence on your keyboard.”

  1. Your Password Is An Opportunity To Remember Something Important

“Choose a 12-character password related to something motivational.

For example, If you are trying to lose weight, choose a password that motivates you – if you want to lose 10 pounds, make your password L0setenP0und$! If you want to be reminded of your children, choose something like Il0veMy4Kid$.

Since we type our password several times each day, make it motivational or something you love or are trying to learn. You will end up with a complex password and be reminded of that goal often.”

  1. Use Context-Sensitive Passwords

“Using a unique password on each of the websites you visit is important, just in case that website gets hacked. The hacker could then use those credentials on other websites that you may have accounts with and use the same credentials, including financial institutions to gain access. 

Create and commit to memory a core password – something like “Defen$e*2468!”

For every website you visit, use your core password and vary the first and last letter based on the website being accessed. 

  • Staples: SDefen$e*2468!s
  • BestBuy: BDefen$e*2468!y
  • Amazon: ADefen$e*2468!n 

This will help guarantee that you are using a unique password for each and every website.”

  1. Make Sure Your Passwords Are Long Enough

“Use long passwords of at least 12 characters, but ideally 16 or more. Short passwords are vulnerable to being cracked by hackers using various methods such as brute force attacks, dictionary attacks, and rainbow table attacks.”

  1. Enable MFA

“Stop wasting support and end-user productivity with password complexity and expiration rules — instead, implement multi-factor authentication today.”

  • Alexander Freund, Chief Information Officer, 4IT, Inc.
  1. Use The Right Tools

“Use Correct Horse Battery Staple for generating passwords that you need to remember. It uses everyday words strung together for a password that can’t be guessed but still meet all the requirements.” 

  • Eric Schueler, Senior VP of Information Technology, HRCT

  1. Rely On Something Familiar To You

“Create a secure password using a familiar phrase or lyric you are familiar with. Take the first letter of each word to create the password. Use spaces and capitalize words include some numbers and symbols, but make it easy for only you to remember — the longer the better.

For example, use of a familiar phrase like, “to be or not to be that is the question”. The password could be “Tbontbtitq!!” or “To Be Or Not To Be, That Is The Question!!”

“Come up with a phrase about something that you enjoy doing, then create the password based on that. For example, “I love spring training” could be translated into a password such as ‘1L0veSp1ngTra1n1ng!’. Using this methodology allows you to think of things that you enjoy but makes the password easier for you to remember.”

  1. Employ A Mnemonic Aid

“You want something that is easy to remember but super hard to be able to crack. Use a mnemonic trick: think of something you loved as a kid, your favorite band, or your favorite pastime.

Pink Floyd in the 80s, Dark Side of the Moon = PF80s!eDSM

My father was a math teacher in the 90’s = MFm@thT!90

I grew up on Oak Lane in the 70’s = IGupOLin70’s

 Make it something that is easy for you! All the examples above include all four possible requirements: upper & lower case, numbers and a symbol.”

  1. Use A Password Manager

“Password managers can help users create unique and strong passwords for every secure account and help to cut down on the common password reuse problem.

  1. Use A Passphrase

“Pick a password that is easy to remember but hard for hackers to crack. Choose 3-4 random words and combine them to make a story. A password like PurpleTurtleBicycle21# is easy to remember. A purple turtle riding a bicycle would be quite a thing to see. This 21 character password would take millions of years for a hacker to crack.” 

“When creating a password, think about the 3 random word approach. “GopherTurtlePeninsula” is harder to crack than a lesser 8 character password with special characters. Also, the password becomes memorable and easier to remember!”

“A good password these days isn’t a word, it’s a sentence with proper punctuation.” 

Don’t Underestimate The Importance Of Your Passwords

In the end, creating, updating, and managing strong passwords can be frustrating, but it’s incredibly important. Privacy and security are major concerns for personal users and businesses alike these days, and so users have to be sure that they aren’t making it easy for hackers to access their private data.

Interesting Related Article: “Why you need a password manager for your browser