Best Practices to Maintain Password Hygiene at Your Company
Nowadays, people use various passwords for many online transactions and tasks. The password to your account is the same as the key to your house.
Let us start by asking a question here – do you use the same password to login into your multiple accounts? If your response to this question is ‘yes, then we suggest you ask yourself another question – what is the role your password plays in cybersecurity? Password help in protecting access to your most sensitive data, it can be any type of data, i.e. financial data, health data, or personal data. And, by keeping the same password for your multiple accounts, in a way, you are giving access to all of your information available on multiple accounts on a silver plate to the cybercriminal.
For organizations, practicing good password hygiene is an essential part of the security strategy to defend themselves against cyber threats. Organizations must put required controls in place and encourage staff to ensure the required password protection procedures are followed to avoid any data breach.
Before we discuss best practices to be followed to ensure password hygiene, let us first understand what is password hygiene and what are the common techniques to steal passwords
What is password hygiene?
The degree to which passwords are chosen and managed as per security best practices is referred to as password hygiene.
Following are some of the common techniques used to steal passwords.
- Guessing – If your password is simple and related, someone might be able to guess without any fuss. E.g. if you have used your date of birth as the password, somebody aware of your date of birth can easily guess and log in to your account.
- Phishing – Cybercriminals can use phishing communication to lure you into providing your credentials to a fake website/link, which can store your password and further be used by the hackers for their purpose.
- Brute Force attack – In a brute-force attack, the attacker tries to crack the password by submitting various combinations until the correct one is found. This task of trying the various combination is performed by software, which is automated and can try extensive password combinations in significantly less amount of time.
- Credential stuffing – It is the process of automated insertion of stolen username and password pairs into website login forms, to fraudulently gain access to user accounts. It is due to the common understanding that many users will re-use the same password and username/email on other websites as well, submitting those sets of stolen credentials into dozens or hundreds of other sites can allow an attacker to compromise those accounts too.
- Social engineering – In social engineering attacks, hackers take advantage of human errors and psychology. They will contact you claiming to be someone else and trap you into the trick of sharing your confidential information.
Hackers and cybercriminals are always trying to figure out new techniques to steal your passwords. Do you want your company to suffer from any such thing? the answer to this question would be ‘no’. Thus, it is essential to identify the gaps and implement best practices to ensure password hygiene. Following are some of the password security measures to strengthen the overall security of the organization:
1) Implement two-factor authentication
It is an additional layer of protection used to ensure that persons attempting to access an account are who they claim to be. First, the user has to enter his or her username and password, once credentials are validated, then they are asked to provide OTP received via text message, email, or authenticator apps as another piece of information before being granted access.
2) Use a strong password
Always use long passwords or passphrases that are complex. Usually, a complex password combines upper case letters, lower case letters, special characters, numeric, and generally more than fourteen characters.
3) Don’t use the same password everywhere
Never use the same password for multiple accounts. Using the same password for multiple accounts increases the risks of compromise of all your accounts if the database of one websites where you had the account gets compromised. It is like having one single key to open all doors and lockers etc.
4) Don’t mix personal and business emails
It’s recommended not to use the same email address for both business and personal communications. When a cybercriminal cracks your password and gains access to your email account, this might result in catastrophic data loss on both personal and professional front. Always use separate accounts for your business and personal interactions.
5) Protect your password list (if any)
Increasing use of online activities has resulted in the need for remembering multiple passwords, people tend to keep and maintain all of their passwords in a password list. It’s critical to maintain your password list private so that it can’t be easily accessed by outsiders, as well as to keep any physical records containing your credentials hidden.
6) Be aware while entering the password
Cybercriminals often use phishing techniques to lure people to enter the credentials in fake website/link so whenever you enter your password make sure the website on which you are entering your password is correct and protected. If you are entering your password on every website which is not secured, you are only a step away from account compromise.
7) Take help from cybersecurity experts
The best option is to take help from cybersecurity experts as they have expertise in this field thus they can help you in understanding the current gaps, what kind of security your organization needs, and ever-advancing threat landscapes. Cyber security experts will be able to guide you properly.
So, these are some suggestions that keep your password safe and secure.
We, at Cybersec Knights, are one of the best cyber security consultants to assist you with identifying and implementing password security measures to improve the overall security posture of your organization. We don’t believe in selling out-of-the-box solutions instead we believe in the ideology of customizing each solution according to the infrastructure and requirement of every client.
Don’t wait for long and take cyber security as your priority. Get in touch with us if you have any queries.