How to improve your password security habits in 2024

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Passwords have long been the standard way of securing online accounts, but poor management and careless practices can often render them ineffective. Weak or reused passwords can be easily stolen by cybercriminals, and an overreliance on passwords alone could leave your systems vulnerable to increasingly sophisticated threats.
Fortunately, there are several password habits you can take to protect your Hawaii-based business and keep those pesky cyberthreats at bay.

Use long and unique passwords for each account

If you reuse passwords across multiple accounts, cybercriminals could hack just one account and access all your private data from other accounts that share the same password. Using unique passwords thus ensures that when one account is compromised, your other accounts remain secure.

Also, set long passwords comprising at least 12 characters. It’s recommended to construct passphrases of three or four random words strung together. This makes different passwords much easier to remember for the user but harder to crack for cybercriminals.

Moreover, the National Institute of Standards and Technology advises against frequent mandatory password resets, as these regular changes often lead to bad habits such as recycling passwords or writing them down.

Use multifactor authentication

Another effective way of enhancing password security is to use multifactor authentication (MFA), which requires users to provide two or more additional verification methods. MFA typically consists of three forms of verification: knowledge-based (password), possession-based (security token) and inherence-based (biometric data).

While MFA boosts security, it’s also important to be cautious of codes sent through text messages. SIM swap fraud is a popular cybercrime tactic that compromises your phone number, allowing hackers to redirect your messages to their devices and gain access to authentication codes. Instead of relying on phone number-based authentication, you should install app-based authenticators or hardware tokens for a more secure method of identity verification.

Consider using a password manager

Password managers function as secure vaults for all your passwords. With a password manager, you can create, store, and manage unique and robust passwords without having to memorize each one. This is because with a password manager, it only takes just one password — the master password — to access your password vault containing the login information to your various accounts.

By eliminating the need for memorization, a password manager can minimize or even put an end to the practice of using easily guessable or repetitive passwords. It also typically offers features such as autofill, which ensures you enter your credentials only on legitimate websites, and cross-platform synchronization, which updates your passwords across all your devices. What’s more, password managers can analyze your existing passwords, flagging weak or reused ones and prompting you for a security upgrade.

Keep software up to date

Finally, it’s important to maintain up-to-date software. Regular updates often include patches that address security vulnerabilities, ensuring your digital systems stay resilient and protected against the latest cyberthreats. Failing to install these updates could leave your data exposed to potential exploits that malicious actors can then leverage. In fact, a 2019 cybercrime report by the Ponemon Institute revealed that 60% of respondents attributed one or more of the breaches they experienced to vulnerabilities for which patches were available but not applied.

The best way to keep up with software updates is to use automated patch management software. This guarantees that your software and systems are regularly updated even without manual intervention. Patch management software, in particular, can update multiple applications from a centralized interface, simplifying the process and ensuring security is consistent across the board.

Stay ahead of cyberthreats by implementing these measures for enhanced password security. For further guidance and tailored solutions, get in touch with our dedicated experts at TechPartners Hawaii today. We offer comprehensive assessments and tailored security strategies to keep your data safe in any situation.