October is typically associated with pumpkin spice lattes, college football, crunching leaves underfoot and ghostly fun, but did you know it’s also Cybersecurity Awareness Month?
This is the month when industry and government alike come together to spread knowledge on good cybersecurity hygiene practices for both individuals and organizations. By raising cyber awareness, we hope to instill knowledge about various cybersecurity touchstones as well as best practices for staying safe in the constant churn and burn of cyber threats.
Throughout this month, SonicWall will be exploring four main cybersecurity awareness themes in four different blogs. Today’s focus: strong passwords.
What is a Strong Password?
A strong password is a password that uses multiple types of characters to make it harder for hackers to guess. In the modern world, hackers use all sorts of methods to brute force passwords, and if your password is something like halloween2023 or password1234, threat actors can crack your password through brute forcing in a matter of moments. A good password will be:
- At least 16 characters long
- Consist of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers and symbols
- Not based on your personal information
- Unique to each account
For example, $4wDeX76PoTG7?!0 is going to be nearly impossible for a hacker to brute force.
You may, like me, look at a password such as $4wDeX76PoTG7?!0 and think, “How in the world would I remember a password like that for every account I have?”
Fret not – this is where password managers come into play.
Password managers are built specifically to help you create secure passwords and keep track of them. There are multiple free password managers that can be used by individuals such as KeePass or BitWarden. There are even password managers built specifically for businesses and larger organizations like DashLane.
Password managers securely store all of your unique passwords for each of your accounts, so when you use a password manager, you don’t have to worry about forgetting a password. They’ll be readily available any time you need them.
Get on Board
According to Dark Reading, weak and reused credentials are near the top of the list of vulnerabilities in many organizations. Despite efforts to increase awareness on strong password practices and password managers, many organizations and individuals continue to use weak passwords, making them prime targets for hackers. The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has its own guide on creating strong passwords that’s also worth a read.
The bottom line is that all organizations need to get on board with requiring strong, unique passwords that make it much more difficult for threat actors to guess. In our next Cybersecurity Awareness Month blog, we’ll cover multi-factor authentication (MFA), which is the perfect tool to pair with strong passwords to maximize protection.