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Our technology blogs feature IT tips and best practices for businesses in Columbia, Baltimore, Bel Air and in and about Maryland since 2002.

How to Avoid Insecure, Ineffective, and Just Plain Bad Passwords

How to Avoid Insecure, Ineffective, and Just Plain Bad Passwords

Password. 123456. Guest. Qwerty. These are just a few examples of passwords that are, in a word, terrible. To help you avoid using passwords like these, let’s go over what a good password is and how to choose one—starting with what you need to avoid.

What Makes a Password Bad?

We’ve all seen them—heck, we started this blog with a list of them—but there are a lot of things that can make a password less-than-effective. If we’re being totally honest, passwords themselves aren’t all that secure, particularly when compared to some of the alternatives we use now for multi-factor authentication.

However, passwords currently remain the predominant means of securing account access, and so it makes sense to make sure yours are as effective as possible.

Passwords can be bad for a variety of reasons. Whether they are hard to remember, not complicated enough to be sufficiently secure, repeated over multiple accounts, or a combination of these few factors, passwords can actually become a detriment to your business’ security. This means that you need to ensure that you avoid these common shortcomings.

Let’s go over how you can (and should) do so.

How to Avoid Creating Weak Passwords

When generating the passwords you plan to use, we recommend you keep a few things in mind:

Don’t Repeat Them
Regardless of the strength of a given password, associating it with numerous accounts does nothing but undermine it. Let’s say you were to recycle your passwords, and one of the entities you held an account with were lax in protecting their users’ credentials. If they’re hacked, there’s a good chance that those responsible will plug any credentials they steal into other websites. By using different credentials to access each account you have, you help limit the number of accounts that will be undermined.

Make Them Sufficiently Complex
Going back to the point we made right at the beginning, simple and easy-to-guess passwords are obviously to be avoided, as they are likely the first that a cybercriminal will try. This makes it important to make sure that each and every one you use is unique and sufficiently complicated. One very effective way to do so is to use a passphrase—a series of truly random, unrelated words—and enhance it with the addition of numbers and symbols.

Don’t Include Personal Details
Regardless of how much school spirit you have for your alma mater, or how much you love the family pet, it is a bad idea to incorporate them and other details about your life in your passwords. Sure, it might make them easier to remember, but it also makes them far easier to guess.

Use a Reputable Password Manager
Considering that the average user has dozens of passwords to manage, keeping track of all these can be a daunting task. Honestly, it’s little wonder that so many people recycle passwords as much as they do. However, using a dedicated password manager eliminates the challenges that make it so tempting to recycle a password. Rather than trying to remember eighty or so passwords, you just have to remember the one, which then gives you access to all the rest, securely locked away behind encryption. The password manager can even help you randomly generate passwords to use, that again, you don’t need to commit to memory.

Reach Out to Us for More Assistance with Your Business’ Cybersecurity

Dresner Group is here to help you protect the entirety of your business’ operations, implementing and maintaining various protections on your behalf. Give us a call at (410) 531-6727 to learn more.

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