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How secure is my password?

If you’ve been using the same password for the last 10 years, or if you always choose a variation of the same letters and numbers, then it’s time to tighten up your defences.

This is even more important for businesses and other organisations, as it’s not just your data that’s at risk, but colleagues’ and clients’ too.

Security is more important than ever in today’s digital world and in 21st Century hybrid workplaces. Thanks to the latest technology, we can work remotely and collaborate through the cloud using smart devices, apps, laptops, computers, and printers. However, that same connectivity also poses a potential cybercrime threat, and weak passwords remain the leading cause of data breaches.

A simple 7-character password can be hacked in less than a second. The consequences can be severe and expensive, from identity fraud and data theft to significant financial losses and reputational damage. In addition, with more of us hybrid working between the home and office, there is a greater chance of devices falling into the wrong hands. All the more reason to create a secure password and improve your online security.

How to create a secure password

Your next question is likely to be, how can I create a strong password? The good news is you don’t need to be a computer expert. Secure passwords should contain:

  • More than eight characters – the longer it is, the harder it will be to crack
  • A combination of numbers and letters in both lower and uppercase. These should also be mixed to prevent brute force attacks.
  • Symbols where possible. These should be randomised to make the password even more complex, just make sure you don’t forget where their placement is.

You should avoid common phrases, words, or combinations e.g. ‘password’ or ‘12345678’ and keep the password as random as possible. Try to avoid common substitutions for numbers in replacement of letters like 3 for E as brute force hackers and password generators are savvy enough to know these. Eight characters is just a starting point, too – longer passwords are harder to guess.

While it might feel challenging to think of a long, complex password that you’ll be able to remember, there is a solution! Automated password generators and password managers such as iCloud Keychain. An old-school alternative recommended by security experts is to write down passwords on paper and keep this in a safe place such as a locked drawer.

Another golden rule is never to use the same passwords for multiple accounts. If you do, then one account breach can bring down the whole house. Therefore, it’s vital to have a unique password for every account you have. Finally, you should also consider extra layers of security around your password. This includes two-step verification, which is an excellent way of locking out hackers even if they discover your password.

Why password security is important

Your password is the key to the kingdom, and you don’t want to accidentally hand over your keys to a stranger. For individuals and businesses, the damage caused by a data breach can be devastating. Using the so-called ‘blunt force technique’, hackers can break through basic passwords with ease.

In the new world of remote working, it can be harder to oversee and manage the security of a distributed workforce. Devices can be lost or stolen, confidential documents can be misplaced, and remote workers can risk unsecured Wi-Fi networks in public places. This makes online security – and strong passwords – more of a priority than ever before.

How to improve your online security

As well as ensuring your password is strong, there are other ways to increase security, such as two-factor authentication (2FA). If your password is compromised, this acts as a safety net by asking users to verify their identity on a second device using a different code.

You can also ensure your devices are secure. Brother’s professional printers, for example, have been designed with security in mind. Many of them feature Automatic Intrusion Detection software to constantly monitor and protect against the threat of hacking. There’s the option of PIN and ID Card-protected printing to ensure printouts don’t fall into the wrong hands. And Secure Function Lock to give you better control of your print environment by restricting certain capabilities to specific users.

Businesses are also protected at a network level, with end-to-end encryption and port-based access control designed to let you connect and share documents confidently. If you’re concerned about your organisation’s online security, Brother’s expert team can provide tailored support based on your requirements, whether password best practice or something more complex.

Summary

The move to hybrid offices and the changing working landscape brings unique challenges as well as exciting opportunities. Security is one of the main issues facing IT professionals working to keep data and networks secure while enabling a productive distributed workforce. Passwords may seem old-school in the days of biometric logins and face ID, but they remain essential. Brother’s hybrid working technology solutions and award-winning devices have been designed with security in mind.

 

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