Blog

Tip of the Week: Taking Your Password Practices to the Next Level

Tip of the Week: Taking Your Password Practices to the Next Level

Passwords… can be annoying, if we’re being honest. They are, however, also incredibly important to your business’ overall security strategy. We’ve all heard the suggestions on how to create secure passwords. As it turns out, there is more to modern security then that. Let’s explore a few options to help you create useful passwords, and take a look why passwords are only the beginning. 

Don’t Neglect the Tried and True Rules

While we want a password to be easy to remember, we also don’t want it to be easy to guess. This is why we can’t help but shake our heads at the top-15 results of an analysis of data collected from the security website Have I Been Pwned:

  1. 123456 
  2. 123456789 
  3. qwerty 
  4. password
  5. 1111111 
  6. 12345678 
  7. abc123 
  8. 1234567 
  9.  Password1
  10. 12345 
  11. 1234567890
  12. 1123123 
  13. 000000 
  14. Iloveyou
  15. 1234 

Many of these passwords clearly break some of the cardinal rules of password security, such as ensuring that there is a mix of character types included in the password, making sure that the password is of sufficient length, or using obvious words, like “qwerty” or “password.”

What’s worse, it is probably a safe bet that many of the owners of these passwords had a tendency to recycle them across their accounts, putting more of their accounts at risk. None of this is a good thing for security, of course. 

You definitely should not be using the same password to get into different accounts. This is not a good practice. The reason is pretty easy to explain: If a password were to be compromised for one account, that would mean that multiple accounts would be compromised. 

A Proven Means of Securing Your Accounts

There are several different ideas about how to do this. One means is to use a passphrase - a series of random words, rather than characters, that is both significantly more secure than most passwords and is easier for a user to remember.

However, as is so often the case, you can start to encounter difficulties once the human element is introduced. We, as a species, tend to gravitate towards patterns, so we have difficulties creating a truly random series of words in our own.

To counter this, an IT professional named Arnold Reinhold developed Diceware, a reliable means of generating a passphrase for yourself.

Referencing the Diceware word list, roll five dice (or one die, five times) and find the corresponding word to the values you rolled. Repeat this process until you have a total of six or seven words, and you’ve got your passphrase.

Why the dice? Simple - it makes it much more random, even than a user “randomly” selecting words from the list of potential words to include.

A Demonstration

Let’s say we were to use this method now, and rolled the following number sets:

      • 21633
      • 16521
      • 31336
      • 13263
      • 52452
      • 33535

Referencing the word list, this gives us the following words...

      • Criss
      • Choke
      • Gluing
      • Bambi
      • Rust
      • Ice

...and, as a result, our passphrase.

The webcomic xkcd provides an illustrated explanation of why passphrases are so effective:

However, many users will understandably hesitate to use passphrases, because this means that - assuming they subscribe to best practices - they will have to remember a series of six completely random words for each of their accounts.

This is where password managers prove their worth. Utilizing a password manager to save your passphrases, and securing it with one, allows you to optimally secure your accounts without the need to worry about forgetting all of your access credentials.

For more means of improving your business’ use of technology, subscribe to our blog, or reach out to us directly at 603-889-0800.

Related Posts

When there is a change in IT Support staff that has access to your IT management systems and passwords it is important to quickly revoke access, change passwords review your security systems. We suggest having a lock-down procedure in place to g...
Modern office workers spend lots of time entering data and crunching numbers with Microsoft Excel. Therefore, it’s essential that Excel users know how to best navigate a spreadsheet. One of the best ways to make Excel easier to use is by freezing its...
Have you ever been working on writing a blog article or trying your hand at a formal proposal letter and wondered if your writing was appropriate for your audience? You’re not alone. The readability of a document is such a concern for people that Mic...
Have you ever tried describing a PC issue on the phone to tech support, and you get nowhere because you’re having such a difficult time describing the problem? To be sure, this is a frustrating experience. By taking a screenshot, you can send an imag...
For all of you who have Windows 10, you probably have realized that it is, without a doubt, one of the most refined versions of the Windows operating system released by Microsoft in recent years. In a way, it takes the best aspects of Windows 7, comb...
After a long, hard day at the office, you might be tempted to just log off of your workstation so you can get right back into it the next day. However, you also have the option to shut down the PC, which can be beneficial at times. So, what should yo...
Before we dive into this week’s tip, it has to be said: if you have a choice, you should probably avoid using a public computer. As a rule, these machines feature minimal security precautions, along with maximum risk to any data accessed by the PC. A...
How much of managing your IT resources are your employees responsible for? SMBs will often have their employees service their own workstations to some degree, primarily because they don’t have the resources to devote entirely to IT management and mai...
As a business owner, your mind is always on your technology and whether or not you should upgrade it. But, how much of your old technology is still lying around the workplace? You might have rooms completely filled with old IT equipment. If this soun...
Security is important for much more than just the Internet. It’s an integral part of organized society, to the point where there are several layers of security for public transportation, airports, and so much more. The only problem is that properly t...
Saving a little on your technology can go a long ways, but cutting too many corners can lead to additional problems and expensive downtime. Here are a few ways you can cut costs without creating long term issues....
If you author a long document, having a table of contents can help your readers get the information they need fast. Here is how to insert a table of contents into a Google Doc.In order to use the Table of Contents feature, you need utilize the preset...

Onsite Service Coverage Area

Although we provide remote services and support to businesses in over 20 states, onsite services are limited to within reasonable driving distance from our office in NH.  For locations outside of our service area, we will manage a local vendor to provide onsite assistance when needed.

 

Onsite Computer Support Services are available to businesses within 100 miles of Nashua New Hampshire. We have excellent onsite coverage from Concord NH, south through Manchester NH, and then down into Boston. From Northern and Central Mass, we cover from Worcester, east to the North Shore, including the Salem and Portsmouth NH area.

 

White Mountain IT Services
33 Main Street, Suite 302
Nashua, New Hampshire 03064

 

603-889-0800

map nashua4 1

 

Open Positions