Are you an easy target for password hackers? Were you aware that more than half of all corporate data breaches are caused by weak or stolen passwords?
According to Verizon’s 2016 Data Breach Investigations Report 63% of company data breaches happen because of weak or stolen passwords.
Did you know that the average Internet user has 25 accounts to maintain? Despite the large number of accounts, most users only use an average of 6.5 different passwords to protect them, according to a Microsoft study.
With identity theft and data breaches an ever-growing problem, it’s important to not only have a different password for each account, but to make those passwords easy to remember and hard to guess.
Roper Insurance & Financial Services recommends following these 8 Easy Steps to creating More Secure Passwords to ensure your passwords help protect your identity and your data:
- Change your passwords every 90 days.
This might seem like a hassle at first, but hackers have a better chance at cracking your passwords if they never change. Also, don’t reuse passwords. And make sure you’re not using any passwords from this list of 2015’s worst passwords.
- Passwords should be at least eight characters long.
Generally, the longer a password is, the harder it is to crack. A 10-character password can be hacked in a week, but a 15-character password can take more than a century.
- Don’t use the same password for each account.
Hackers target lower security websites and then test cracked passwords on higher security sites. Make sure each account has a different password.
- Passwords should include uppercase letters and special characters.
Special characters include symbols like “#,” “*,” “+” and “>.” Whenever it’s an option, include special characters in your passwords. Get creative!
- Don’t use names of spouses, kids, pets, etc.
All it takes for a hacker to crack passwords that include these things is a little research on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
- Don’t use passwords that include bank account numbers, credit card numbers or birthdays.
Not only could hackers use these passwords to gain unauthorized access to our system, they could use these to empty your bank accounts or charge thousands of dollars to your credit cards.
- Passwords should be easy to remember but hard to guess.
Think of an important event that has happened in your life and make a sentence out of it. Then, remove the spaces, turn a word or two into shorthand or intentionally misspell a word, and add significant numbers if there are none in the sentence. For example, if you adopted two golden retrievers in 2007, you might end up with “2goldenretreevers07.”
- Use a “password manager” to keep your passwords safe.
You don’t think an unscrupulous office visitor won’t think to look for your password under your keyboard or in your desk drawer? And keeping them in a file on your computer is just as risky. Instead of writing down your passwords on sticky notes or in an insecure computer file, consider using a password manager app such as LastPass or KeePass. The cost is a lot cheaper than the cost of a data breach. Some password managers offer mobile device security as well.
We take data security very seriously here at Roper Insurance & Financial Services and you should, too. By using effective passwords, you not only protect yourself from costly identity theft, you help keep us profitable and running smoothly. For more help with cyber security and avoiding data breaches, give us a call today at 303-721-1145 or message us here.