Good news—you don’t need a username, credit card or any personal information to read this article. We bet you’re thankful. It’s hard enough keeping and remembering the user names and passwords for the hundreds of websites that require them. Which is why password security is such a problem, and why most people reuse the same password over and over again.
According to Keeper Security, a password management solutions company, 60% of people use the same passwords for everything. Keeper also reports that 81% of data breaches are due to weak, default or stolen passwords. Do you think those two statistics are connected?
Businesses are hardly immune to password security risk, as staff is likely to use the same passwords for their business accounts and network access as they do for their personal accounts. In fact, according to Keeper Security, “Passwords represent the greatest security risk to businesses today.” Password reuse is not restricted to any specific age group or demographic, either. According to International Business Times, 92% of Millennials reuse login security information.
How adequate is your password security?
You are likely inundated with website logins, email accounts, social media accounts, banking accounts, smartphone passcodes, alarm codes and more, each of which requires a password. And while creating a strong password is key to data protection, there is no possible way you can remember more than a handful. Additional complexity seems more like an inconvenience than anything.
That’s why, while many users recognize the need for minimizing password redundancy, efforts are often inadequate, even if well-meaning. For example, many people save their passwords in a plain-text file on their hard drive.
But is this a secure method? In an article from online security information website CSO, Jackson Shaw, VP of product management at One Identity LLC was quoted as saying, “If you look at the Sony hack, the attackers just looked for any file that had ‘passwords.doc’ in the file name. They came up with something like 3,000 different files with passwords in them.”
While managing the massive number of passwords may seem impossible on your own, a password manager can do it all for you.
So what are password managers, exactly?
Inadequate password security is why password managers were created—in direct response to the problem of reusing the same weak but easy-to-remember passwords. After all, if a hacker gets your password from one site, even if that site doesn’t have your credit card or personal data, he or she could then access a few dozen sites that share the same log-in information, racking up charges and stealing your identity.
A password manager, however, generates, retrieves and keeps track of extra-long, completely-random passwords across countless accounts. It will also protect PINs, credit card numbers and their three-digit CVV codes, answers to security questions, and more—with encryption that can be almost impossible to crack. Concludes Lujo Bauer, a security researcher and associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University, as quoted in Consumer Reports: “Password managers are not a magic pill, but for most users they’ll offer a much better combination of security and convenience than they have without them. Everyone should be using one.”
How to create a hard-to-steal password
One significant advantage of a password manager is its ability to create longer and less obvious passwords. As recently reported in an article from digital security system provider Digicert, even one extra letter or number makes a big difference for password security. Consider:
- A 6-character password with only letters has 308,915,776 possible combinations.
- An 8-character password with only letters has 208,827,064,576 possible combinations.
- An 8-character passwordwith letters (upper & lower case) and includes numbers and symbols has 6,095,689,385,410,816 possible combinations.
The random passwords generated by a password manager will also avoid the risk of letter/number combinations that can be easily guessed, even if using a longer character count. For example, the SANS Institute recommends all passwords share these characteristics:
- Contain at least 14 characters
- Avoid personal information including dates, phone numbers, and names
- Avoid number and letter patterns like ”aaabbb” or “qwerty”
- Avoid any version of common passwords such as “Welcome123” “Password123” and “Changeme123”
- Use multi-factor authorization
Even if you follow all these recommendations, the Sans Institute also recommends, as we do, the use of a password manager for even greater password security.
Keep your passwords safe with Keeper
There are many password managers, but at Single Path we have partnered with just one: Keeper Security. We like Keeper not only because of its incredible password security—your passwords are impenetrable with Keeper Security technology—but also because it is so user-friendly. Keeper not only generates strong passwords, but autofills passwords across your apps and sites and across platforms and devices. Keeper also supports multi-factor authentication, biometric login and tools that can be used across all your personal devices, including your smartwatch, to confirm your identity. Additionally, Keeper allows password sharing with a colleague or team, security score monitoring and the ability to transfer vaults when an employee leaves.
Single Path is your protection partner
Password security is important to help you reach your goals of privacy and data protection, but it is far from the only tool you need. Single Path can help keep your information secure from hackers, natural disaster and more. Single Path Security offerings include email security, desktop and network management, and the ability not only to prevent cyber-disruption, but to react and bounce back quickly in the face of it. Single Path can perform a complete security risk assessment and then help you plan, utilize and use the tools that will best safeguard your business. Let our comprehensive suite of security options, including password security, keep your entire network safe.