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Mastering Passwords: A Beginner's Guide to Password Management

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Password Management refers to the basic hygiene you should have with your passwords. You probably already know the basics of password management such as not making your password “Password” but there is so much more you can do to help secure your valuable accounts.  

Protecting Your Digital Life: Understanding the Importance of Strong Passwords and Effective Management 

Password Management is important because a good password is not only your first line of defense against hackers but is arguably the most important. Without good password management, you are risking your accounts being breached and risk losing access to those accounts. 

Steps for Stronger Password Security: Tips and Tricks for Effective Password Management 

1. Strong and Unique Passwords 

The first thing you can do to help with your password management hygiene is to make sure your passwords are not easily guessable. Most people fall into the trap of naming their passwords after their favorite sports team, children, dogs, etc. Hackers have tools that allow them to input your personal information to generate and try passwords that you would most likely use and will be able to guess your password in no time. To fix this issue you will need to come up with or generate passwords that are not only unique but are also possible to remember. An example of a good password is “Crane-Scholar5-Tweezers”. This password does not relate to anything personal but is still easily remembered. It also has enough letters, special characters, and numbers to be considered secure. Passwords should have 10-15 capitalized and not capitalized characters, 1-2 numbers, and 1-2 special characters. It is essential to randomize where you place your numbers and capitalized letters because it is common for people to place them at the beginning of the password or afterwards which can make it easier to guess.   

2. Avoiding Password Reuse 

Another key to proper password hygiene is making sure you are never reusing passwords. Many people fall into the trap of using the same password for everything or using slightly tweaked versions of that password. This is a huge issue since if you are doing this and a hacker finds one of your passwords, they will end up having access to everything. Most people have the misconception that adding an “!” at the end of their password makes it different enough, but a hacker’s tools will also attempt similar changes. For every account that you have, you should make a unique password. That password should follow the rules discussed above.   

3. Utilize a Password Manager 

If you have trouble remembering all your new and different passwords, a password manager is an extremely helpful tool that makes good password management easy. A password manager application allows you to securely store your passwords in the cloud with encrypted storage. Password managers protect your data and remember your usernames and passwords. This allows you to create complex passwords such as “cE#EF$96q9yrb5fg4gLB” because you do not need to remember the password since it's stored in the password manager. While this is only recommended if you are using a password manager the password discussed above is extremely secure compared to “Crane-Scholar5-Tweezers”. It is very important to make sure that the application you select is a reputable password manager. This is to ensure they are properly securing your data. When you write down your passwords, there's a risk involved as someone could gain access to your account if they come across that note, or it gets into the wrong hands. Writing your password in a document on your computer is in no way secure. This information is written in plain text which means if a hacker finds this document, they do not have to do anything to read this information and will have easy access to your account. It cannot be stressed enough that when utilizing a password manager, selecting a secure password for your password manager account is vital in ensuring its security.   

4. Multifactor Authentication for Password Protection 

Another thing you can do for password management is to enable Multi-Factor Authentication if it is available for that account. MFA stands for Multifactor Authentication. By linking your account to a multi-factor authentication (MFA) app, you are required to authenticate yourself through the app every time you log in, either by approving the login or providing a unique six-digit code that refreshes every 30 seconds. This additional step adds an extra layer of security, making it more difficult for a hacker to gain access to your account, as they would not only require your password, but also the MFA code or approval. To read more about Multi-Factor Authentication check out our blog Unlocking the Power of Multifactor Authentication (MFA) for Online Security.

5. Regular Password Changes for Improved Security 

A good idea for keeping up with your password management is changing your passwords every 3 months. This is especially important for your vital accounts. Although the tips discussed so far help make sure your accounts are more secure that does not mean that your passwords cannot be hacked. To help ensure your accounts are secure changing your password every 3 months helps to make sure a hacker is not getting close to getting into your account using their tools. If you notice suspicious activity regarding your account, see a login you do not recognize, or even just feel like something is wrong, change your password IMMEDIATELY! Changing your password when there's no issue is far simpler than attempting to regain access to your account after a hacker has infiltrated it, which may not be possible.   

The Overall Importance of Proper Password Management 

Password management is extremely important for securing your accounts. By making sure you are using good unique passwords, using a password manager, using MFA, and making sure to change your passwords every 3 months will make it very difficult for your account to be breached. Although it will make it extremely difficult for your account to be breached using these steps this does not mean that it is impossible. If you notice any suspicious activity on your account change your password immediately because nothing is impossible to hack.   

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About the AuthorDalton Graham

Dalton supports Cortrucent clients day in and day out by working one-on-one with users to trouble shoot their support tickets and phone calls. Currently he is attending Rowan University to further his knowledge of IT and working towards his bachelor's in management information systems.