We use passwords daily, to access emails, social networks, forums or even to log into our PCs.
One of the biggest challenges facing most organizations today is network and data security. Use of weak passwords for authentication helps Cyber Criminals in their attempts to gain access to private accounts and companies’ data.
To prevent leakage of private information, businesses must enforce a secure password policy. Ensuring that users create strong passwords or generating one for them is an effective way of reducing successful attacks and preventing unauthorized access to private accounts.
You are probably wondering what a strong password is; a strong or powerful password should have a minimum of 16 characters and it should also feature a combination of uppercase, lowercase, numbers, symbols, and spaces. A password that contains all these characters would be more complex and difficult to crack than those with repetitive numbers or common dictionary words. A balance must be reached between having a powerful password and being able to remember it. A useful rule, in this case, is to derive passwords from phrases that are unique to a particular person.
As privacy debates rage on, keeping users’ data safe is a duty a business must perform using all the resources at its disposal. If a breach occurs, the business can get blamed and sued regardless of the cause of the breach.
Below, we are going to discuss user’s password security, the best ways to go about it and its importance for businesses.
Changing Passwords Regularly
Regularly updating passwords may seem tiresome. It is, however, a strong protection against successful authentication attacks because it can help lock out an attacker who had maliciously obtained a user’s password. Security-conscious companies can enable this option by default in the account creation and activation process. An expiry time can also be set for each password so that users are prompted to change their passwords after a certain period of time. The more important an access level is, the stronger the need for a scheduled password update.
Enable Extra Verification
Extra verification can be activated in addition to regular passwords when the consequence of being hacked may be catastrophic e.g. access to bank or financial transactions. In this scenario, a second or third security layer is added so that a resource cannot be accessed without providing all the account credentials. This greatly improves a user’s account security since it is unlikely that a malicious user will have access to the secondary or tertiary verification steps of that particular account. A good example of this is the Two-Factor Authentication(2FA) where you will need to have access to your phone or email to get a verification code for accessing the service. This ensures that simply having a password isn’t enough for an attacker to gain access to a user’s account.
Enforce Password Policies
Businesses need to come up with a password policy that encourages their users as well as employees with high security clearance to use more secure passwords. A password policy includes a set of rules that are designed to ensure the safety of the organization’s network and data. This includes rules that define requirements for creating a password that all employees or users of computing resources must comply with. For example, a password policy may include a rule that says all passwords should have a length of 16 or more characters. Other password policies may impose requirements on the type of characters to include on a password. For example, a password policy may ask users to have special characters such as *, #, £. Other policies may prohibit the use of words found in employee’s personal information or password blacklist.
Passwords are means of keeping private information or operations from unauthorized users. Through either user’s laxity or network attacks, malicious hackers can gain access to your users’ private information without their permission. This can be avoided if the users of a system are encouraged to create strong passwords that will be practically impossible to crack. With the strategies discussed above, you can be assured of creating a secure password security system that will keep your businesses’ and clients confidential information safe. A reliable password policy will help ensure the security of users’ data and assets, it will help businesses to earn and retain the trust of its users and avoid losses due to leaked or stolen data.
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