When it comes to protecting sensitive information online, passwords are the most used form of authentication for most applications and webs alike. Unfortunately, passwords also happen to be one of the most insecure ways to authenticate users. On a personal level, passwords can be difficult to manage due to the average user’s number of online accounts.
Most users resort to weak passwords that hackers can easily crack and gain access. Also, many service providers fail to store passwords securely, and as a result, these credentials risk being stolen. Compromised passwords can cause large-scale data breaches. As you can see, passwords can provide a false sense of security when users are unaware of the vulnerabilities they bring.
Guide To Secure Passwords and Logins
In 2021, the use of alternative authentication methods such as biometrics to address these weaknesses is gaining some traction. However, passwords are still the most common authentication method, and instead of replacing them, security experts are encouraging better password security. Here are some valuable tips to help you secure your passwords and logins.
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
Multi-factor authentication adds a layer of protection on top of your username-password combo. MFA requires users to provide more information to gain access to their accounts after entering the password. You can use a One-Time Password (OTP) sent to your phone via SMS, an app (such as Google Authenticator), or biometrics as the second factor.
Use Strong Passwords
According to experts, using strong passwords is one of the most effective ways to protect your data online. However, not many people follow this sound advice because it’s difficult to memorize strong, unique passwords for every online service that you use. Your password should have a minimum of 12 characters and contain uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
Don’t Reuse Passwords
Using strong passwords is a healthy practice, but it’s not enough. Make sure that you use different passwords for the various services that you use. Many internet users recycle the same password for several online accounts. In the event of a breach that exposes your password, attackers can log in to your banking, personal social media, or work-related accounts using the compromised password.
Use a Password Manager
With all the online services that the modern internet user manages, dealing with passwords can be challenging. In most cases, users will resort to easily guessable passwords such as pet names, names of their loved ones, etc. and most likely you’ll be memorising several passwords for different websites. A useful solution to this problem is using a password manager, this tool allows you to conveniently store multiple passwords in an encrypted vault making it a more difficult target for potential threats.
Security Tools to Strengthen your Online Security
Hackers and other online threats can create sophisticated ways to steal passwords and compromise systems and online accounts. Using strong, unique passwords may thwart attempts to hack your password through force. However, attackers could still steal your login credentials using a method called phishing. So when it comes to keeping your accounts secure, using strong, unique passwords only gets you thus far.
Fortunately, there’s much more you can do to secure your passwords and other data on the internet. You can deploy several security solutions to further secure your passwords, usernames, and other sensitive information on the web. These include:
Install a VPN
Using a VPN helps add in an additional layer of protection to your ISP which otherwise would not be available. When you click on a link, your request is rerouted through an encrypted tunnel that helps protect sensitive data such as your login credentials from falling into the wrong hands. By downloading a VPN app you can also connect multiple devices to ensure that you have better safety across any device you use to browse the internet.
Antivirus software uses signature-based detection to identify and remove viruses from your computer. Antivirus can also scan email content and intercept phishing emails before they get into your inbox. Phishing attacks deploy an email to transmit fake messages intended to trick users into clicking into sharing sensitive information such as passwords.
Password is the oldest form of authentication that we use today. It’s easy to use and can be quite effective if used correctly. However, most people don’t follow password security best practices. As a result, password authentication has been getting increasingly insecure over the years. Use these tips to harden your password security and protect your data.