Passwords ensure only approved users can access a computer, files or a network. However, weak passwords have the potential to allow hackers to enter through the front door, so to speak. In order to ensure strong passwords are used across a network, it is recommended that network administrators set password policies and train staff on the importance of creating a strong password.
The 8 + 4 Rule
A strong password is one of the easiest steps you can take to prevent hackers. We recommend passwords that follow the 8+4 rule. The 8+4 rule means the password has at least 8 characters and at least one upper case, one lower case, one number and one special character.
An example would be:
Random passwords are more secure than simple passwords. You should avoid common keyboard patterns such as qwerty, 123456 or phrases such as ABC123abc.
The number of people who still their personal information in their password is astoundingly high. Passwords containing names and date of birth are easier for hackers to crack. Administrators should set password policies to prevent users from using variations of their name and date of birth for passwords.
Change Your Password
Administrators should set a policy for the maximum age of passwords. Once a password meets the maximum age the user will be required to change passwords. The risk with this policy is that users will be frustrated by the high frequency of required password changes leading to password complacency. Therefore the key is to set a time frame that maintains security, yet is not so frequent that users become frustrated and set simple and easy to hack passwords. Experts suggest 6 months.
Education is the key to security. You can reduce many security risks by simply spending time educating staff on the best practices. Prevention is much better than the cure. This type of education will have added benefits for staff as they can use the knowledge for their personal email accounts and online banking etc. Some basic concepts you may want to ensure staff grasp include:
- Never share your password
- Never write your password down
- Create unique passwords for every account
- How to set a strong password
By Amy at 2 Nov 2017, 11:00 AM
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