In order to avoid your organization falling afoul of the ever-increasing attempts of cybercriminals to infiltrate business networks, it is important to invest some time and effort into improving password security. Passwords are often all that stand between a hacker and accounts containing sensitive data, and one compromised account could give a hacker the foothold they need to conduct a devastating ransomware attack.
The single easiest, and most cost effective way to do this is to purchase a password management solution. Password managers – Bitwarden for example – help to ensure that strong, unique, and almost impossible to crack passwords are created for each user account, with the solutions greatly improving password security while simplifying management for businesses. Bitwarden for example includes an automated secure password generator, a password checker to identify weak or compromised passwords, and the highest possible standard of encryption. In the event of a data breach, passwords ill reman secure.
Strong Passwords Are Crucial
Passwords need to be long and complex to be resilient to the brute force tactics of hackers. A password management solution will assist you in creating passwords that are sufficiently random and complex through a secure password generator.
This allows you to set parameters for complexity, and the password generator will suggest randomized, complex, and unique passwords for all online platforms and accounts. This feature is important, as employees often choose easy to remember passwords which are susceptible to brute force guessing attempts. There have been many instances of data breaches occurring due password reuse, where employees have reused passwords on multiple platforms, only for one of those platforms to be breached. That password can then be used to access all of that individual’s accounts. Businesses have also been hacked that have stored passwords in plaintext, and those passwords have subsequently been sold to threat actors via hacking forums. These passwords have been incorporated into password dictionaries and are attempted in hackers’ brute force campaigns.
So what is a strong password and how can a password management solution help set them up? The most common advice for passwords is to make sure they contain a minimum of 16 characters with a mix of capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols, while avoiding using dictionary words. Ideally, the password should be a random mix of these characters. Difficult to remember but also very difficult to guess.
When you use a password management solution, you will need to set a master password for your password vault where all of your unique passwords will be saved, ready to be automatically filled when you attempt to access your accounts. You never need to remember individual complex passwords, only one master password to access your vault. It is wise to create a passphrase for this. A passphrase is a long and varied password that is, when set properly, much easier to remember but very difficult for a hacker to crack.
Review the Strength of Your Existing Passwords
Using Bitwarden, as an example, you can review the strength of your passwords with vault health reports. Your vault will be analyzed to gauge the strength of your existing passwords. This is an automated process that checks for weak passwords, repeated passwords, and any that have been compromised in previous data breaches. This check is performed by the algorithms in the solution. Passwords are never exposed to Bitwarden staff as the solution operates on a no knowledge model, as do many password management solutions. You will also be told if your 2FA is not set up properly, or if any of the web platforms you are using are unsecured.
If you are worried about password security, you should consider adding a password manager to your organization’s cybersecurity suite. Password managers greatly improve password security and will make your organization more resilient to brute force attacks. Bitwarden is one of the top rated password managers, is competitively priced, and also offers a free tier for individuals and small businesses. It should certainly be on any password manager shortlist.