Cybersecurity 101 | A Strong Password Guide & Other Measures

Basically, our Cybersecurity 101 is here to help you get safe while using the internet. Perse, nothing is more important while web browsing than having a Strong Password. Bearing in mind, a compromised password gives cybercriminals an open door into your most personal accounts. So, of course, you’ll want to build a password that hackers are unlikely to discover.

Oftentimes, the average user will create passwords to fool human hackers. This used to be a smart way to fight data theft through hacking. A criminal would use any information they could find about you and use common patterns in passwords to guess yours. You used to be able to just switch up the characters in your passwords and “Tr1Ck” your way into security.

But, hackers took notice. In most cases, Cybercriminals use sophisticated technology to get your passwords nowadays. This is important since many people try to make passwords hard for people to guess, but do not consider efficient algorithms. Usually, great Cybersecurity Software Tools are designed to account for crafty user behavior as they guess your passwords.

Additionally, Coding is also a very important part of cybersecurity. For instance, through coding, security experts can identify hackers by analyzing their language patterns. They can also use code to create patches for security vulnerabilities and detect security breaches. Instead of going through all that hustle, the best strategy starts with you — by having a strong password.

The Cybersecurity 101 Basics When Using Password Credentials

It is crucial to protect our online identities as the world becomes more connected. Having a strong password is one of the simplest and most efficient ways to achieve this. To enumerate, a password is sometimes called a Passphrase, specifically, when it uses more than one word like a passcode or a passkey. Or rather, when the password uses only numbers.

Such as a Personal Identification Number (PIN) to be precise. The most important components of strong passwords include a sufficient length of words. As well as a mix of other unique character types. Security experts recommend using passphrases that combine several words and interchange numbers and symbols but are still fairly easy to remember.

When people create login credentials, they often defeat the purpose by creating a memorable password. They choose their names, phone numbers, birthdays, or even the word “password” itself, the most commonly used password for many years. Now that many password policies require the inclusion of a numeral, the most common password is “password1.”

For example, the phrase “my hobby is buying shoes online” can convert to “Myho88y!$ buYing$HO3$ 0nlin3.” A password is a simple application of challenge-response authentication, using a verbal, written, or typed code to satisfy the challenge request. The order and variety of characters are often what determines the difficulty, or security strength, of a given password.

The Dangers You Should Know About A Weak Password 

On one hand, one of the most popular methods used by hackers to access personal data is a weak password. With the right tools, simple-to-guess passwords and those that contain well-known words or phrases can be broken in a matter of seconds. Because of this, it’s critical to pick a strong password that’s challenging for hackers to decipher.

On the other hand, the danger of password reuse is yet another risk associated with weak passwords. For that and many other reasons, that is why even most security systems often require users to create passwords that use at least one capital letter, number, and symbol. For a password to be an effective security mechanism, its details must be kept secret.

Otherwise, unauthorized users could gain access to the files and securities one is trying to protect. But, many people use the same password for multiple accounts. All accounts become prone to risk if even one account is compromised. So, it’s essential to use a different password for every account — refrain from using identifiable like birthdays, names, or addresses.

On that note, one of the best ways to prevent a data breachidentity theft, or any other unauthorized access to private information, is to create complex, long passwords. Instead of common words that are easy to guess, essential components of a secure password include sufficient length. Plus, a mix of special characters, numbers, and uppercase and lowercase letters.

How The Cybersecurity 101 Defines Strong Password Credentials

First of all, a Strong Password doesn’t just depend on the code or the individual; it also depends on the expiration date. For instance, most business entities and corporate password policies often place an expiration date on their users’ passcodes, forcing users to replace old passwords with new ones. In most cases, password time periods commonly span 90 to 180 days.

By the same token, some more sophisticated password creation systems may also force users to create new passwords that don’t share major similarities to their previous iterations. Realistically, the SolarWinds Hack that emerged in late 2020 showed how Cybercriminals can compromise weak passwords, instead of just performing an elaborate attack.

Related Resource: Password Managers – Why You Need One Plus The Best Practices

Suffice it to say, the Russia-backed hackers in regard to the above hack simply guessed the password “solarwinds123”  and entered it — which proved to be the password to the company’s update server. This allowed the attackers to hide a virus in SolarWinds’ Orion software update, which was later shipped to its clients and compromised them as well.

Generally, a password is just a string of characters used to verify the identity of a user during the authentication process. Typically, used in tandem with a username; they are designed to be known only to the user and allow that user to gain access to a device, application, or website. And, they can vary in length and can contain letters, numbers, and special characters.

How To Create A Strong Password With Great Credentials

Moving on, there are a few but most common ways passwords and other sensitive data can be stolen. But, among them all, phishing and brute force attacks are the two most common ways. As well as clicking on suspicious file downloads.

It’s also, important to realize, that sometimes, your Portable Document Format PDF files can contain a variety of viruses that can harm your computer. So, it’s good to be sure that recipients trust the source of any PDF files they download. In addition, PDFs can be password-protected so that anyone who tries to open the file needs a password in order to access it.

To prevent password cracking, when they are carefully created and protected, it increases safe and secure interactions in the workplace. Oftentimes, to maximize the strength and efficacy of passwords, organizations establish password policies. They are designed to help users create strong passwords and adopt best practices for managing login credentials.

Unfortunately, most people still like to use passwords that will be easy for them to remember. So, an easy way to create a new password that is both secure and easy to remember is to use a common passphrase and convert that phrase to a password. A password example might be, “I have 2 Labrador retrievers! Fido and Spot,” which may be expressed as Ih2Lr!F+S.

The best practices for effective password creation and management:
  • A minimum length of eight characters and a maximum between 16 to 64 characters. While there is no limit to the length of a password, it does reach a point of diminishing returns.
  • Include both uppercase and lowercase letters with case sensitivity. This increases the number of variables at play and, therefore, its difficulty.
  • Use at least one number.
  • Use at least one special character.
  • Avoid using easily guessed elements such as names of children, pet names, and birthdays.
  • Consider using a password management tool.

Forthwith, there are many ways for coming up with a secure password that can help safeguard your online identity. Use a mix of capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols as your first option. This makes it much more difficult to crack the password and less likely for a hacker to guess it. Using a passphrase as opposed to a password is another piece of advice.

As we mentioned, a passphrase is a group of words that are simple to recall but challenging for others to decipher. For instance, you could use “correct horse battery staple” instead of “password123.” In comparison to a simple password, this passphrase is both stronger and simpler to remember. However, it’s also crucial to regularly change your password.

Even if future hackers are able to guess your password, doing this makes it more difficult for them to access your accounts. Therefore, you should try changing your passwords at least once every three months at a minimum.

Use A VPN And Two-Factor Authentication Is A Great Idea

It’s, important to realize, that there are many risks associated with Public Wi-Fi Networks that you may or may not even be aware of. While convenient, public Wi-Fi networks can also be risky. These networks are public, anyone can access them, allowing hackers to intercept your traffic and steal your personal data. It is advised to use a virtual private network more often.

In particular, so as to protect yourself when utilizing public networks. Always remember, that when connecting to the internet through a public Wi-Fi source through your mobile device or laptop, it’s easy for hackers to use the same Wi-Fi network to intercept private data transmitted over the network. A great way to avoid this is VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) integration.

Essentially, which creates an encrypted network connection. Users can leverage a VPN to give themselves more privacy online or to bypass geographic-based censorship. Encrypting your traffic, a Virtual Public Network (VPN) makes it much more challenging for hackers to access your data. Choose user-friendly, highly secure services that are either free or inexpensive.

Enable The Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) Applications

The next thing is to enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) Apps on your devices. Notably, Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) is an identity and access management security method that requires two forms of identification to access resources and data. 2FA gives businesses the ability to monitor and help safeguard their most vulnerable information and networks.

You can add a second security layer to your accounts called two-factor authentication. Besides a password, a code or token is needed to access the account. This is important since hackers would need both the password and the code to access the system. Thus, it makes it much more difficult for them to do so. Online services are increasingly using two-factor authentication.

Fortunately, many large websites, including Google, Facebook, and Twitter, now provide it. For that reason, to add an additional layer of security, it is advised to enable two-factor authentication on all accounts that support it. Herein, another way to enhance security is through multifactor authentication, which employs an additional login measure.

Specifically, before granting users access to a website or online account. While this isn’t enough, on its own, to replace a weak password, it does add another level of security to a strong password. Typically, this is an application downloaded to a mobile phone where the user can submit login credentials or use a biometric device, like a thumbprint.

Utilize Online Security From Internet Service Providers 

ISPs (Internet Service Providers) are essential to online security. They are in charge of the network infrastructure that enables internet access. They often act as the first line of defense against cyber-attacks. Security features like firewalls and antivirus software to help protect from threats online. It’s crucial to pick an ISP that customers can trust, as per consumer reviews.

Specifically, an ISP that takes online security seriously and provides these features. It’s crucial to look into an ISP’s reputation and online security capabilities before selecting one. To help protect your online identity, you should try to choose a reliable internet service provider at all times. Look for ISPs that provide antivirus software, firewalls, and other security features.

Additionally crucial is picking an ISP with a solid track record of dependability and customer support. To learn how the ISP performs in these areas, look at reviews and ratings from other clients and what other users are saying online. Still, while antivirus software won’t necessarily help fortify your passwords, it can help you shore up your other security defenses.

Work With A Password Manager As An Alternative Method

Realistically, while it may seem like a burden to create a strong password for every account, there are still some more ways to make it all easier. Particularly, so as to help you create an added layer of security at the same time. If creating and remembering complex passwords sounds too challenging to do or enforce with employees, get a password manager app.

It comes with a unique password generator that will create (and store) complex, longer passwords for each application or website. They are also commonly known as Single Sign-On (SSO) applications because they require the user to only sign in with a master password. The app will auto-login the user when they visit one of their pre-programmed websites.

This relieves the burden of the user having to remember numerous passwords while adding to your security. These password manager apps can be used for any site that requires a password, including social media websites, work tools, and email carriers. Many operating systems such as Microsoft Windows and iOS come with complementary password managers.

However, there are third-party SSO applications as well. Examples include LastPass, Dashlane, and NordPass. But, you can also find an array of other SSO apps online that you can give a try for free before you can upgrade them.

Final Thoughts:

A strong password is essential for safeguarding your online identity. It works for preventing hackers from gaining access to your personal data, to sum up. Consider using a passphrase rather than a password and make sure to use a mix of capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. We recommend that you use a VPN when connecting to public Wi-Fi networks.

And also, make sure that you enable 2FA (Two-Factor Authentication) Apps on all your digital signups/logins and internet access accounts for third-party applications. Especially, in regard to online marketplace transactions and social media platforms integration processes. Perse, this could be when integrating these accounts into your website or application.

Select a reputable ISP that offers security features like firewalls and antivirus software and takes online security seriously. You can safeguard your online identity and stay secure in the digital world by paying attention to these pointers.

Other More Related Resource References:
  1. Web Browsing History | Why Is It So Important To Erase It?
  2. Mobile Security | Your Device & Data Threats Protection Tips
  3. Website Security | Top #6 Steps To Secure Your Web Business
  4. Top 5 Cybersecurity Risks Management Strategies For Business
  5. Atlas VPN Solutions | Open Internet Access At Your Fingertips!

That’s it! A few things that you needed to know from our Cybersecurity 101 Guide like why it matters to create a strong password plus a few chops on how to come up with a suitable passphrase. But, if you think that there is still something else that we can add to this guide, you are welcome to share it with us in our comments. Or rather, Consult Us for more support.

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