The lock pick and ski mask are officially old hat. Nowadays, if someone wants to take your valuables, they can easily pick your pocket while sitting comfortably at their desk. High profile cyber-security breaches are making headlines daily, so it’s baffling that still to this day the world’s most popular password is 123456. With World Password Day on May 2, now is the perfect time to re-assess your approach to password management and also #LayerUp by utilizing one of the most useful data theft deterrents we have today; multi-factor authentication (MFA).
Layering Up with Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
Okay, so your password isn’t just the word “password,” but to truly be vigilant against cyber-attacks, you’ll need to get familiar with MFA ASAP. Multi-factor authentication is a security system that requires multiple forms of authentication from different categories of credentials to verify user identity. This practice is already widespread with many common real-world applications, such as banks requiring you to swipe your card and then enter your pin or having to reply to a text message when you change your e-mail password. With many companies already struggling to find effective methods for storing passwords and re-using combinations out of convenience, adding multiple authentications has emerged as the solution of choice because of its ability to more effectively determine user identity.
Choosing Personalized Authentications
As CPU processing speeds increase, cyber-attackers are managing to access systems quicker than ever with the latest methods (such as GPGU password cracking and rainbow tables) while cracking 14-digit passwords in less than three minutes. Therefore, you’ll need hyper-specific authentications that help differentiate the malware bots and cyber attackers from the members of your team. The three categories of authentication types are:
- Knowledge: Something only you know (ex. a personal password)
- Possession: Something only you have (ex. a key fob or smartphone)
- Inherence: Something only you are (ex. fingerprints or retinas)
Combining these processes makes credential theft much harder and can cause potential attackers to move on to lower hanging fruit more quickly. And with current technological advancements, there are many options on the table to use to stay secure.
Practicing Good Password Management
Even with MFA in place, the core of your defense against hackers still lies in your ability to manage the passwords you use effectively. Make sure you’re practicing good fundamentals by creating unique passwords for every account you use that consist of more than eight characters and are a mix of numbers, letters, and symbols. Where possible, don’t use words found in the dictionary, since hackers have programs that can quickly search through dictionary words. Instead, try getting creative with your spelling or creating new abbreviations or acronyms for phrases you remember well. Your password is also stronger if you avoid bunching your numbers and symbols together and spread them out. Finally, test your passwords by putting it through an online testing tool likeMicrosoft’s Password Strength Checker.
The Ultimate Lock: Passwords Managed by an MSP
If you’re looking for absolute top-level security, consider working with a Managed Service Provider (MSP) to help you strengthen your cybersecurity plan. A top-of-the-line MSP like Haselkorn can keep you secure from top to bottom by creating and storing unique passwords for you and making sure you’re utilizing the most effective methods for combatting cyber attackers. Contact Haselkorn today to find out all the ways we can help fortify your defenses.