A password is typically a string of characters that a user must provide in order to confirm their identity and gain access to a system or service. It acts as a mechanism to protect your assets or information from others in the cyber world. Passwords are a common method of authentication, which is used to verify the identity of a user.
Passwords are commonly used to protect accounts, files, and other sensitive information. It is important to use strong and unique passwords, and to avoid reusing the same password across multiple accounts.
- Authentication - A password reliably authenticates or validates the identity of the owner/user of the device.
- Access - A password ensures access to the device by the actual user.
- Security - A password ensures security to the data, network, and information by restricting user access.
- It represents and authorizes the identity of the user of a system.
- It helps users protect personal information/data from unauthorized access.
- It acts like a barrier between the user and personal information.
Creating a strong password
To increase the security of passwords, it is important to follow some of the steps while creating passwords, such as:
- Use a long and complex password that is difficult to guess or crack. This typically means using a mix of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters.
- Avoid using easily guessed information, such as your name, address, or phone number, in your password.
- Use different passwords for different accounts, so that a compromise of one password does not give an attacker access to multiple accounts.
- Update passwords regularly, especially if there is any suspicion that a password may have been compromised.
- Enable Two-factor authentication (2FA) can be another great step to secure the password. This adds extra verification to make sure that the person logging in is you by asking a second method of verification such as a code sent to your phone or an app that generates a code.
Advantages of password
There are several advantages to having strong password security:
- Protection of sensitive information: Passwords help to protect sensitive information, such as personal information, financial information, and confidential business data, from unauthorized access.
- Compliance with regulations: Strong password security is often a requirement under various regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), which organizations must comply with in order to avoid penalties.
- Protection of online accounts: Passwords help to protect online accounts, such as email accounts and social media accounts, from unauthorized access. This can prevent identity theft and other forms of online fraud.
- Protection of networks and systems: Passwords can be used to protect networks and systems from unauthorized access, which can prevent unauthorized users from gaining access to sensitive information or causing damage to the network or system.
- Better security for multi-user and shared systems: Multiple user accounts can have different levels of access, by giving different passwords this way you can have better control of what information or action each user can do in a specific system.
There are several possible vulnerabilities of relying solely on password-based security.
- Passwords can be easily forgotten, resulting in locked accounts and lost productivity.
- Passwords can be guessed or cracked through various means, such as brute-force attacks or dictionary attacks.
- Passwords could be shared with other persons and might be misused.
- Users may note down their passwords in a book which can be accessed and viewed by others.
- Passwords can be stolen through phishing scams or other types of social engineering attacks.
- Passwords can be shared or reused, creating a single point of failure if the password is compromised.
- Passwords can also be stored in plain text in the servers, and if the servers are compromised, the passwords are also compromised.
- If a user is using weak and easily guessable passwords, it increases the vulnerability for account getting hacked.
As a security measure Multi-factor authentication, password managers, and other forms of authentication can be used in conjunction with passwords to mitigate these risks.
Checklist for ensuring to create of a strong password
When you create a password, it has to be one that checks all the following conditions, to ensure that it is strong enough.
- It is minimum of 10-12 characters long
- It is hard to guess
- It is a random combination of varied characters like uppercase, lowercase, symbols, numbers etc.,
- It uses passphrase, which is a sentence like string of words that is meaningful, long, easy to remember but difficult to guess. Example – ‘ iLuvF1$HCurrynChaWalAl^^ays’
- It is personalized and easy to remember but hard to guess by others
- It has not been used before and for other accounts
Best practices for setting a strong password
There are several best practices that can be followed to secure passwords and keep them safe from being cracked:
- Use unique, complex, and long passwords: A strong password should be at least 12 characters long and include a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Avoid using easily guessable information such as your name, birthdate, or common words.
- Use a password manager: A password manager can generate and store complex, unique passwords for you. It can also help you keep track of your passwords and automatically log you into your accounts.
- Enable two-factor authentication (2FA): Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security by requiring a second form of verification in addition to your password. This can be a fingerprint, a security code sent to your phone, or a security key.
- Regularly update your passwords: Passwords should be updated regularly, especially if there is a suspicion of them being compromised or if there's been a data breach of one of the sites you use.
- Do not reuse passwords: Reusing the same password across multiple accounts makes it easier for attackers to gain access to multiple accounts if they are able to crack one password.
- Educate yourself about phishing scams and social engineering: Phishing and social engineering attacks are common ways for attackers to steal passwords. Being aware of these types of attacks and knowing how to spot them can help protect your passwords.
- Avoid writing down or sharing passwords: Keep your passwords private, do not share your passwords with anyone, even your colleagues, and do not write them down in a place where they can be easily found.
- Be wary of public Wi-Fi: Public Wi-Fi networks can be easily compromised by attackers. Avoid entering sensitive information, such as passwords, while connected to a public Wi-Fi network.
- Monitor your accounts: Regularly check your account activity and look for any suspicious login attempts or changes made to your account information.
By following these best practices, you can significantly reduce the risk of your passwords being compromised. And also using a combination of these practices makes it much harder for an attacker to gain access to your account.
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