Deccan Chronicle

98 per cent of your passwords are vulnerable: Time to change some settings

Deccan Chronicle| Krishna Makwana

Published on: May 7, 2017 | Updated on: May 7, 2017

Fourth of May marked the importance of keeping user data secure by simply following a protocol while selecting the right password.

(Representational image)

(Representational image)

Passwords are strange, complex and we forget them often. They are crucial as they are used to secure the most private platforms of our lives. This vital combination of characters has long been used to keep secrets by people. Fourth May is celebrated as World Password Day, thanks to Intel Security’s initiative to remind all users about the importance of selecting the right crypto-keys.

If hackers get hold of your password, sensitive personal data is easily compromised. Given the growing importance of digital protection, it’s better to follow a simple protocol in order to ensure that identity theft or other such-related crimes aren’t carried out. Unfortunately, users aren’t found to be great when it comes to picking unique and secure passwords. Business Insider conducted a research to determine just how vulnerable accounts were and they found that over 10,000 of the most common passwords allowed access to approximately 98 per cent of all accounts. Come to think it, the extent to which our accounts are vulnerable is slightly terrifying.

World Password day — which is supported by over 170 other organisations including Microsoft, Toshiba and Dell — marks the importance of keeping user data secure by following a couple of do’s and don’ts while selecting a password. Follow the four steps given below to while selecting the right password:

Step 1: Create a strong password

"Be sure to use a strong password," is probably the most common advice most users come across. It can get tricky to choose a password that is both, easy to remember and strong enough for hackers to crack. The traditional password advice is that users choose a password that is at least 12 to 14 characters long. Using a mix of different types of characters also helps. Avoid choosing obvious dictionary words; instead, opt for a unique combination of letters. For instance, choosing "football" as your password is probably a bad idea. Lastly, avoid relying on obvious substitutions too. In this case, choosing "f00tball" is perhaps, not the best alternative.

Step 2: Use a different password for each account

In order to limit the fallout, in case the hackers do manage to steal your password, it is essential that you choose a different password for each and every site or service you use. Of course, that also comes with the clause that you must choose them sensibly as it can get difficult to remember them all. To counter this, you can simply create easy ways to remember these passwords. One such way would be to choose the password that is tailored as per the service you are using. For instance, if you are logging into Facebook, then you can choose something like, "Facebook + your name."

Step 3: Let the Password manager do the work

Good password managers these days provide users with a plethora of options. For example, platforms like DashLane or KeePass allow users to sync or keep the passwords with them locally, change passwords with just a click and even log-in to the sites for you. Password managers are especially helpful because it only requires the user to remember one master password. Rest is automatically taken care of by the software.

Step 4: Multi-factor authentication is the best practise

Having a strong password is only the first step towards securing your network and data completely. Security experts these days are strongly recommending that users opt for multi-factor authentication with their systems. Multi-factor authentication or MFA is a method of computer access control in which a user is granted access only after successfully presenting at least two separate pieces of evidence to an authentication mechanism. These typically revolve around something that is exclusive to the user’s knowledge, possession or inherence.

World Password Day is meant to be treated as an encouragement to protect yourself and your closed ones from the dangers and possibly drastic consequences. Make sure you go through your passwords and make them stronger.

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