12 Apr Common Cybersecurity Concerns: 4 Password Management Best Practices
Cyber attacks affected 765 million people last April, May, and June alone. The resulting financial losses were more than tens of millions of dollars.
Everyone should focus on password security. Better passwords are vital for protecting personal and corporate information.
Keep reading for 4 password management best practices. Use them to help your company stay secure against cyber threats.
1. Create Your Own Password Blacklist
Start your cybersecurity plan with a list of passwords no one in your company should use. Hackers often begin an attack with previous or popular passwords.
Create a blacklist for your company. Includes popular dictionary words and common passwords. Security professionals recommend enterprises build their own blacklist.
Compare new passwords to the list to prevent reusing old, weak passwords. Track failed log-in attempts to help detect and reject a brute force attack.
A brute force attack is a trial-and-error method used to gain passwords and PIN numbers. Automated software generates consecutive guesses.
Hackers use brute forces to get encrypted data. They’re also used by cyber analysts to test the security of a company network.
It’s smart to limit the number of failed login attempts allowed. This helps you recognize and reject brute force attacks.
2. Adopt Long Passphrases
For years, people combined numbers and symbols in hopes of making stronger passwords. But it didn’t take hackers long to crack the code. Subbing a dollar sign for similar letters, was easy to figure out.
Lots of people don’t want to memorize hard passwords. Instead, they let their browsers remember them. A simple password or one stored in a browser isn’t secure.
The US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recommends using long passphrases. The best practice is to create a passphrase up to 64 characters, including spaces.
The passphrase is a longer string which takes many more guesses to crack. At the same time, it’s easy for the user to remember.
Major operating systems and applications support passphrase. You can use a passphrase on Windows, Linux, and Mac up to 127 characters for serious security.
3. Install Advanced Authentication
Two-factor authentication is common for corporate servers. People confirm their identity with a single-use code sent to a mobile device, or with a personal USB token.
The trend now is to increase security with non-password methods. Biometric verification methods can recognize faces, fingerprints, heartbeats, voices, and irises.
Behavioral biometrics exist, too. They analyze interactions such as:
- Unique keystrokes
- Mouse dynamics
- Applications used most often
Advanced authentication methods keep a system more secure than an 8-digit alpha-numeric password.
4. Use Password Encryption
Encryption gives added protection to stolen passwords. Don’t rely on reversible encryption or one-way encryption to keep your data safe.
The best practice is end-to-end encryption that’s non-reversible. It protects passwords as they move across the network.
Data is most vulnerable during transport. A solid encryption plan helps keep data safe in motion.
Never store passwords in plain text. Hackers could compromise your database and steal all your unencrypted passwords.
Incorporate Password Management Best Practices
Keep your staff up to date on guidelines and password management best practices. A solid plan is worthless if employees don’t understand or use it.
Most data leaks are from weak passwords and phishing emails. Train your employees to recognize and avoid potential attacks.