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How to create a strong password: That’s your first line of defense against cybercriminals


Photo shows a cybersecurity professional creating a strong password to protect data from cybercriminals. Photo created using midjourney.

Computers and the internet greatly influence how we live, work, and even play. Whether it’s your online banking account, email, or social media, each digital door to your personal life is safeguarded by a unique key: your password.

Yet, despite being the most direct form of security, passwords are often neglected, underestimated, or misunderstood. Ignoring the importance of strong, unique passwords places your digital life at significant risk.

The password is often the first and sometimes the only barrier between your personal information and cybercriminals. A compromised password can lead to identity theft, financial loss, and even compromise your personal safety. In corporate environments, the stakes are even higher. Weak employee passwords can become the gateway for attacks, affecting an entire organization’s network and data.

The digital age has not only made it easier to store and access information but has also made it easier to hack into seemingly secure systems. We live in a time where phishing scams, brute force attacks, and data breaches are commonplace.

It’s easy to think of hackers as sophisticated professionals using complex algorithms to break into networks. Still, many unauthorized entries are due to weak passwords.

According to a study by Verizon, more than 81 percent of hacking-related breaches happened because of stolen or weak passwords.

So, how does one go about creating a strong password? Here are some guidelines:

• Aim for at least 12-16 characters. The longer the password, the harder it is to crack.

• Use a mix of characters – uppercase, lowercase, numbers, and symbols. This increases the number of possible combinations, making your password more secure.

• Never use easily available information such as your name, birthday, or username.

• Never use the same password across multiple sites. If one site is compromised, all your accounts become vulnerable.

• Consider using a passphrase—a sequence of words or sentences that is easy for you to remember but hard for others to guess. For example, “BlueSky$RainyDay!43” is a strong passphrase.

• Always enable two-factor authentication when available. This adds an additional layer of security, typically involving a secondary code sent to your mobile device.

Always remember, never reuse a password. People reuse passwords or choose simple ones because of the difficulty of remembering multiple complex passwords. This is where password managers come in. They securely store all your passwords and can generate random, high-strength passwords for you. All you need to remember is one strong master password to access your password manager.

It’s important to regularly update your passwords and check the integrity of your digital accounts. Many services now offer a security checkup to examine your account’s security settings and recommend improvements.

You can check the integrity and security of your password by going to https://passwords.google.com/, and in case you want to know if your email is in the database of compromised accounts, check https://haveibeenpwned.com.

Passwords are more than just a string of characters; they are the first line of defense in securing your digital life.

Given the increasing frequency and sophistication of cyberattacks, taking your passwords seriously has never been more crucial. A strong, unique password, preferably fortified by two-factor authentication, offers effective protection against most unauthorized access attempts.

In this age of digital vulnerability, taking the extra time to secure your password is not just a good idea; it’s a necessity.

Credit belongs to : www.mb.com.ph

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