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How safe is your password?

There has never been a more important time for your company to be as secure as possible online. With the constant development of technology, it has become more common for cyber threats to occur.

Having passwords online is the first step to achieve this security, however, it is scary when you hear potentially how easy it is for people to break through these passwords if they are not strong enough. This poses a security risk for both the individual and the business as a whole so it is vital that all passwords used are as strong as they can be. Password theft is growing in popularity and can lead to a privacy breech of data or even identity theft. This article discusses the dangers of password theft and what actions businesses can take to ensure that their assets remain safe.


When considering a password, use the following tips and ensure all your staff follow these as well:

1.    Choose a long password
This one is quite self-explanatory. The longer the password is, the less predictable it may be and will be harder for hackers to figure out. You can also put some random shorter words together to form a long password, so it remains easily memorable to you. Most things ask you to have a password that is a minimum of 6-8 characters. Short passwords can sometimes be guessed within seconds using some of the technology available to hackers. Bearing this in mind, using a longer password will benefit you.

2.    Mix your password up
Some applications require special characters and capitals in order for it to be a valid password. However, even if this is not a requirement, you should still consider doing it. Adding random special characters (e.g. #, @, !, $) will instantly make it more difficult to guess. Also add the use of capital letters as well. You do not need to stay grammatically correct here. Add capital letters and special characters as randomly as possible. Try to consider words that are not in the dictionary as these will be especially difficult to decipher.

3.    Do not use a pattern
It can be tempting when you have to decide on a password quickly to choose something which quickly comes to mind, but this means that it may quickly come to the mind of a hacker as well. Using patterns such as “12345” and “qwerty” are really common and will be cracked really quickly. Try not to include something as predictable as your birthday, your birthday year or the current year either.

According to a study from Keeper, a password manager, here are some of the most popular passwords of 2019

1.    123456
2.    123456789
3.    qwerty
4.    12345678
5.    111111
6.    1234567890
7.    1234567
8.    Password
9.    123123
10.    987654321

4.    Do not make it personal
Leading on from the above point, it is never a good idea to reveal anything personal in a password, especially when it is for a work account. Using birthdays, anniversaries, mother’s maiden name, old school or pet names will be some of the most obvious choices. Although its personal information to you, it is information others can easily access if they wanted to. Also make sure your passwords that you use at work are completely different to those you use for personal use. Although all passwords should be different, many people choose the same or similar passwords for more than one thing. This is not ideal but especially if you use similar passwords for your personal and work accounts. This will increase the risk of you losing more information as if they break your work password, they can potentially access your personal data as well.

5.    Don’t repeat passwords
As we discussed before, many people reuse passwords for various things. Each time you repeat a password, it puts you more at risk. It can become very tiring and complicated to have a lot of different passwords to remember, however if its possible for you to do it then always use different ones.

6.    Change passwords
You should change your passwords every now and then as good practice, however try not to get your staff to change their passwords too regularly. Although this will keep everything more secure, it is sometimes not realistic to expect staff to keep remembering new passwords if it is changing too often. The confusion it causes could lead to more forgotten passwords and locked accounts which could waste a lot of time and reduce productivity in the office. Determine the regularity of changing passwords that works for your company and staff. However, if you ever feel there has been a security risk, ensure everyone changes their password immediately, regardless of the last time they changed them.

7.    Never write passwords down
Struggling to remember a certain password? Or has a colleague just shared a password with you? If so, no matter what, don’t write it down. As easy as it is to quickly jot the password down on a post it note or piece of paper, this is a dangerous thing to do. It could easily fall into the wrong hands this way and be seen by several people who shouldn’t have access to that information.

8.    Use a password manager
As it is really difficult to remember a lot of different passwords (especially if they are as complex as they should be) then a password manager is a great option for a business. A password manager stores all the passwords in an encrypted file and stops you having to remember them all. Instead, you just have to remember a master password. They are also a more secure way of sharing passwords to different members of the team. It avoids people having to say the passwords out loud or via email which is unsafe. A password manager ensures only authorized people have access to the passwords they need.

Here at ECL, our experienced Account Managers are always on hand to discuss your requirements, help you plan your ongoing IT strategy and answer your questions. For more information, please call us on 01268 575300 or email us on info@ecl.co.uk

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