This week’s action step for Cybersecurity Awareness Month is all about passwords. Everyone’s favorite topic (not really). In fact…
…75% of Americans are frustrated with password management.
And it makes sense. Every account has different length, strength, and character requirements. Not to mention separate accounts for work and personal use. It’s exhausting.
We all know passwords are important, but why make it SUCH a big deal?
Because… 81% of data breaches are due to poor password security.
Here are a few of the biggest contributors:
USING SIMPLE PASSWORDS
The longer and more complex a password is, the more difficult it is for cyber criminals to “brute force” or guess your passwords to gain access. The computing power available in 2022 makes it possible to attempt thousands of password combinations at incredible speeds.
For example, even using uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols, a 6-character password can be brute forced in less than one second. By comparison, a 9-character password would take two days, and a 12-character password would take 3,000 years.
65% of people use the same password across multiple accounts. That means if your password is compromised on one site, every account using that password is now compromised. Using unique passwords for each and every account protects you in the event of a data breach.
NOT CHANGING PASSWORDS
It’s easy to “set it and forget it” when it comes to passwords, but using the same password for years on end is a recipe for a data breach.
In fact, only 45% of people change their passwords even after a data breach. And almost half of employees only add a digit or change a character when changing passwords.
The best thing to do is create entirely new passwords at regular intervals for your accounts.
“OK, but how is that practical? How am I supposed to keep track of all that?”
It’s a valid question. The average person has more than 38 passwords to manage between their work and personal life. Enter password managers.
Password managers can save a lot of time and frustration, as well as helping you keep your passwords secure. Plus, many of them have integrated password generation tools to create unique passwords and securely store encrypted versions for future use.
There are dozens of password managers to choose from and the “right” option depends on your specific needs. If you need help deciding on the best password management solution (or how to streamline password management in general), talk with one of our IT experts. This is exactly why we're here.