Reinforcing password security

Antoine Harb, Team Leader Middle East and North Africa at Kingston Technology today on the occasion of World Password Day explains the importance of strong passwords to enhance the data security and minimise the risks for data breach

Weak passwords are cited as among key vulnerabilities in data protection strategies. Individuals and corporations alike are at risk of a data breach just by using easy-to-guess passwords. A number of people are aware of the consequences of their insecure passwords. In fact, as per available online figures, 90 percent of internet users today are concerned about their passwords being easily decoded. Despite having this worry, many are still opting to either re-use the same passcode across their multiple accounts or choose those that are easy to crack.

Users prefer simplified passwords for quick recall because many – around 53 percent of people according to available online data – depend on human memory as their passcode storage. While it is understandable, this is a risky behaviour with massive financial and reputational costs, especially for business organisations.

The celebration of World Password Day, which is marked yearly on the first Thursday of May, is a fitting reminder that it is time for people to adopt stronger passwords as the basic step to safeguarding their valuable personal or corporate information.

Many simple ways can be observed to create passwords that are difficult to decipher. One is to use phrases rather than a single word. Utilising personal details such as birthdays, birthplace and family names is also a poor practice. Another is inserting special characters between letters or numbers to make it even harder for cybercriminals to hack user accounts.

For extra protection, numerous companies today require users who are creating accounts in their online portals to type in hard-to-guess passwords by combining normal and special characters with numbers; otherwise, the password will be automatically rejected.

Re-using passwords is also not recommended. The best practice is to have unique passcodes for different accounts. Digital vaults or password management applications are available to make it easier for users to handle their passwords without depending on their memory.

Frequent changing of password is advisable as well for better security. It is highly advisable to modify it at least once every two or three months.

For many businesses, password security is a big part of their cybersecurity training. Raising awareness amongst their employees is an important component of a company’s battle plan against cybercriminals.

Furthermore, organisations may go beyond usernames and passwords as the only requirements to access an account. Additional proof of identity may be required as another layer of protection. This is where multi-factor authentication (MFA) comes in. MFA is being widely used today to beef up data security and effectively ward off any cyber threat. Hardware-based security keys, one-time passwords and biometrics, to name a few, provide the much-needed added security.

Experts and service providers now extend solutions to enterprises to help them safeguard their digital assets beyond the normal passcodes. They make sure every aspect of a company’s information technology infrastructure is better protected. In the area of storage and memory solutions, Kingston Technology is an experienced and reliable solution partner. It offers encrypted storage solutions, including solid-state drives, self-encrypting drives and USB flash drives, to keep data inside and outside the firewall away from cybercriminals.

Without a doubt, a password plays a key role in data safety and protection efforts. Creating a unique and hard-to-guess password is the basic defense against hackers, thus, it requires careful thought and much attention. After all, when personal or corporate information is on the line, having stronger passwords is but a wise thing to do.