When most people think of cybersecurity, they think of high-end networking equipment and a team of technology experts locking down complicated systems. It’s easy to get carried away with everyday life and assume that your cybersecurity team has your network on lock down. However, cybersecurity starts with you and is something you do every day when you type a password or check your email.
“cybersecurity starts with you”
Strong passwords are the easiest way to strengthen your cybersecurity, but this is where most people are the weakest. With modern technology, computing devices come in many different forms. In one day, most people use desktops, laptops, smartphones, music players, and tablets that all contain valuable account information connected with your banking or other sensitive systems. All the machines you use daily are vulnerable to misuse by unauthorized attackers, which is why you need a strong password to protect your personal information. A strong password could mean saving you and your business substantial money.
How do you create a strong password?
A strong password must be something that you can remember.
A strong password instantly becomes a vulnerable password once you write it down, so pick something you can remember. One way to do this is to take a phrase or sentence and shorten the length, picking a few words that make the sentence coherent to you. An example would be, “Please excuse my dear aunt sally”, which could be turned into “sallydearexcuseplease”. This breaks up the typical sentence structure while keeping a lengthy and easy to remember password.
A strong password must be long enough to prevent attacks.
The length requirement of your password depends on the security of your systems and the sensitivity of your information. This is a complicated topic, but it can be simplified by just keeping all our passwords long enough for most use scenarios. Our password “sallydearexcuseplease” already meets this criteria.
A strong password has upper-case, symbols and numbers.
Inserting upper and lowercase letters and symbols can help create a strong password and help you remember the password better. We’ll use the same example again but add in some extra uppercase and symbols, “SallyDearExcusePlease@”. This time we added uppercase lettering to the beginning of every word and an @ symbol at the end to lengthen and strengthen the password.
A strong password isn’t about you.
This might sound self-explanitory, but you’d be surprised how many people break this rule. “MyNameIsJohn!” is an obvious password since my name is, in fact, John. This is no different than using the street you live on, your birthday, or the names of your children. These are all easily obtained pieces of information.
Following these 4 simple rules will take you a long way towards being secure in today’s connected world. Take a moment and look at your surroundings to pick something memorable and create a phrased password like our example. Add a few symbols and follow our rules to see what you come up with. If you’d like, you can even send us the example password you created and we will let you know how well you did for the exercise. Stay safe, stay aware, and keep those passwords strong!
This is for example and testing passwords. Never send anyone your real passwords!