What is a strong password? How often should you re-use passwords? Is my password secure? These are the questions that are important to know to protect your security.
Most systems require authentication by passwords to prevent a malicious actor from impersonating you. Passwords can be a good thing, but only if you take a few precautions.
- Do not use the same password for everything, if someone gets your password they could try it on other systems. It is also a pain to have to change all your accounts using the single password. If all your passwords are different, you only need to change the one that was breached.
- Use a random password generator, most hackers will use lists of ‘common’ passwords. Avast offers a random password generator.
- Unless you can remember all your passwords, it is best practice to use a password manager.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has developed specific guidelines for strong passwords. You should consider using the longest password or passphrase permissible (8–64 characters) when you can.
By using a password manager, you are making it more difficult for an attacker to get into your account. As mentioned above, if you use the same password for everything, it makes a hackers job easier. Imagine if your bank account and Walmart account had the same password, it is always safe with different passwords.
Most people find it difficult to remember passwords for everything if they are all different. If you are not one of those people, you can still potentially benefit from a password manager.
First, all your passwords are in one place, but they are stored with extra security. Make sure your password manager uses a very strong password and has some multifactor form of authentication. If you ever want us to check if a solution has these options, feel free to contact us.
Second, you can generate passwords of varying length. For instance your bank account password could be 75 characters (if your bank allows that), and you could generate a very random and still secure 15 character password. The best news is that a password manager remembers everything for you.