It’s just a silly quiz, right?
Wrong! Think before you start answering questions in a quiz that pops into your social media feed. Many of those questions are commonly used security questions to log into your various accounts. Sharing the town were you were born or the first car you owned may seem innocent, but to a cybercriminal it’s the beginning of payday.
Passwords are our first line of defense when it comes to protecting the systems we access. Different systems/applications have different criteria used to determine the password strength:
- How many characters is the password?
- Is the password complex (using Uppercase and Lowercase characters, does the password use special characters (!, @, #, $, &, etc.)?
- How often should the password expire?
- How many invalid login attempts do I have before my access is locked?
Complex vs Simple
Why does the character and complexity of a password matter? Simple answer, a shorter and less complex password is easier for a hacker/cybercriminal to crack. While an eight-character password consisting of only lower case characters can be cracked in less than 2 minutes, it would take that same cybercriminal a millennium (1,000 years) to crack a 14-character complex password.
- NEVER SHARE YOUR PASSWORD WITH ANYONE ELSE.
- Make your password UNIQUE.
- Avoid passwords that are easy to guess (birthdays, your name, family names, pet names, favorite vacation spots, etc.)
- Use a combination of UPPERCASE & lowercase letters with numbers (1234), and special characters (!, @, #, $, %, &, *).
- Do not store your Passwords and Usernames together.
- Do not write down Passwords and leave them unsecured.
- If you think your password was compromised, immediately change your password.
- Log off systems/application that you are not using.