You're used to making passwords and feel familiar with the process. While you may feel like an expert, do you actually know how to make a secure password?
If you don't, that's ok — we understand how easy it can be to use that same password over and over again, only changing the number at the end (looking at you Password1 through Password10).
However, with AI and hacker intelligence increasing, the threat of cyberattacks is ever-present. Learn how to properly protect your personal and business information with seven secure password tips. Trust us — you'll thank yourself later for securing your data with strong passwords.
1. Use Unusual Number Combinations
When creating a password that requires numbers, it's simple to just throw 123 or 5678 at the end so you can meet the password requirements and move on. Unfortunately, that's precisely why sequential numbers are a big no when creating a password. Hackers will try these simple combinations first, which could get them one step closer to cracking the code.
You should also avoid using your birthday, parts of your phone number, house number or any other number with meaning. Believe it or not, it's super easy to find that information — using these number combinations is basically like giving hackers your password for free.
This advice also applies to businesses. Using your store number, address or any other numerical information related to your business gives hackers an excellent starting point. It's also a liability if you have employees leave the company. If they know your password patterns — like the store number always being part of the passwords — they may be able to access sensitive information even if you change your passwords after they've left the company.
2. Create Unique Passwords (Yes, Every Time)
Let's be honest — we've all heard this advice before but typically choose to ignore it. Unfortunately, it's an extremely important rule to follow, even if it can get a bit annoying and tedious. Even if you follow all the other rules for creating a beautifully secure password, the chances of it being compromised increase if you use it for everything. Once your one password is compromised, the information in every account that uses that password becomes vulnerable.
Business owners need to take data and password security especially seriously. Not only do you need to protect your financial information, but you also need to protect your employee's information and any customer data you've collected.
If you're serious about your password protection, start creating a unique password for every account and website. We're not saying it's fun, but it's a great way to increase your security, so the hassle is worth it.
3. Use a Combination of Numbers, Letters and Symbols
It's best to get in the habit of using numbers, letters and symbols, even if a website or app doesn't require you to include all three. Using a variety of characters can actually make it easier for you to remember passwords. We know, it seems more complicated to include so many password elements. If you keep the criteria the same for all of your passwords, though, you won't have to guess if this one password was the one that used numbers or not.
Using all parts of the keyboard instead of limiting yourself to just numbers or letters also opens up the variety of passwords you can create. The more options there are, the harder it will be for hackers to narrow down your password.
4. Don't Use Real Words
Ok, technically, you can use real words. What we mean here is to replace some of the letters with other symbols. This way, you can choose a word that's easy to remember while still making it harder for the hacker to break in. They probably won't be expecting you to substitute your letters!
Take a look at a few ways you can replace letters in words (these would not be secure enough to be passwords on their own, though):
- Painter to P@int3r
- Bolder to B01d3r
- Hitch → H!t(h
This method also relates to tip number three above since replacing letters requires using both numbers and symbols. See, it's not so hard to use all three!
5. Avoid Words With Meaning
Just like we talked about with numbers, you'll want to steer clear of any words with personal meaning. Your last name, your business's name, a pet's name, the street you live on, the school you attended — seriously, anything with meaning is off-limits.
Have some fun and make up a nonsensical or unrelated phrase. The weirder, the better! As an exercise, try picking a random food, a place (unrelated to the style of food), a color and the first number that comes to mind. For example, you could choose Pasta-Greece-Gray-619. Seems pretty easy to make a password with no meaning, right?
If it helps you get creative, continue to pick four categories like the exercise above. The first four words or numbers that come to mind can be a starting point for your password. Then, go back and see where you can add symbols or numbers to replace letters.
6. Make Your Password Longer
Size (or, in this case, length) really does matter when creating a secure password. The longer your password, the better. Using at least eight characters is a good starting point, but aim for something longer. We recommend you use three or four random phrases (like we did in the section above) and string them together. Try to aim for a total length of around 16 characters.
Remember not to throw in sequential numbers just to meet a length requirement — you still need to follow password security best practices!
7. Enable Two-Factor Authentication
Hacking, especially for businesses that own a lot of valuable data, is a very real and serious issue. Enabling two-factor authentication on all password-protected systems or accounts is one way to prevent the likelihood of these cyberattacks.
Two-factor, or multifactor authentication, requires a second password for an account to be accessed. While you create the first password, you don't create the second. Instead, the authentication system autogenerates a unique code for each login. It often sends this code by email or text.
Enabling this system can help keep your account protected even if your original password is compromised. The hacker won't have access to your phone to receive a verification text. The hacker won't be able to snag an emailed code either — at least, not if you listened to us back in tip number two and your email password is unique from your other accounts.
Enjoy Peace of Mind With Eden Data Services
Do you still feel like you're not doing enough to keep your data secure? With the increasing threats of cyberattacks, this feeling shows you're serious and vigilant about protecting your business.
That's why we created Eden Data — to help business startups get comprehensive, quality Cybersecurity. Our team has the expertise and passion to keep your business safe from cybercriminals with a fixed-cost monthly subscription. So, what are you waiting for? Send us a message to get in contact and start digitally protecting your startup today.