Maintaining Good Password Hygiene (Part 1)

One of the good things to have come out of the turmoil and chaos that was 2020 has been the awareness of how important internet security has become for all of us, and the dangers presented when it’s ignored.
Things like “Zoom Bombing” where unwanted attendees would drop in on Zoom Conferences became a thing, but that could have been easily prevented by the use of a strong, well created password.

We’re all aware of the non-negotiables of personal hygiene, but similarly good password hygiene shouldn’t be an option. Maintaining password hygiene is the process of strengthening your account credentials to keep you safe from hackers and other dark threats from ‘cracking’ your account details. This is important for all of us as our online profiles become more and more detailed, but it’s especially important for businesses who can not only sustain a lot of damage from their systems being compromised, but also face large fines under the GDPR and Australian Data Privacy Regulations.

Unfortunately, the days of just having a password have been and gone, and there is a need to ensure your account credentials are as secure as possible. There are some ways you can keep yourself protected in the modern day, online world.

1.     Have a strong password

I know, this one is pretty obvious, but bear with me here. Let’s take a look at some bad passwords to demonstrate what a strong password is not.
These are the top 10 Most Popular Passwords from the 2019 NordPass Report:

1.     12345

2.     123456

3.     123456789

4.     test1

5.     password

6.     12345678

7.     zinch

8.     g_czechout

9.     asdf

10.  qwerty

You can see the full list here. These passwords are generally made up of easy-to-remember elements, such as keyboard patterns, birthdates, sporting team names, or like number 5 on the list, simply the word ‘password’. Generally, if it’s easy to remember, it’s easy to guess as well, so our recommendation is to use passwords that are both long and complex. For instance, being 12+ characters long and including upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters like % and !. A good tip is to come up with a memorable phrase that makes up your password, for example:

The best Burgers are from Johnny’s at 5:30 on Fridays

TbBafJ@530oF (this would take 34 thousand years to crack)

If you’re unsure how strong your password is, you can test it out at:

2.     Change them regularly

I bet you’ve seen the prompt before, “your password will expire in 5 days”. WHY DO THEY NEED ME TO DO THIS SO OFTEN?!
Unfortunately, it’s because it’s very important. Regularly changing your password reduces the time a hacker has to try and crack it, and for some companies, this is also a requirement in order for them to be compliant with regulations such as PCI DSS. The current recommendation is to change your password at least every 45 days, if not sooner.

Never fear, we have more tips for password protection coming your way soon!

Stay tuned for part 2 of Maintaining Good Password Hygiene.
If you have any questions or are interested to see how Cloudwize can help you, reach out! We’d love to hear from you.

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