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Are you using “password” or “123456” as your go-to password? If so, you are at a higher risk of being hacked. As cyber threats become more advanced and frequent, the importance of using strong passwords to protect personal and sensitive information cannot be overstated. The World Economic Forum reports that 80% of data breaches, which translates to roughly four of every five, are perpetuated by weak passwords.

The recent hack of LastPass, a popular password manager, has exposed the vulnerabilities of using weak and guessable passwords.  The password managing service helps users generate and store strong, unique passwords using sophisticated security such as AES-256 bit encryption, PBKDF2 SHA-256, and salted hashed to secure users’ data. 

Despite the strong security, the password manager still got attacked by hackers, revealing the importance of adopting stronger defense for your data. A basic step towards this is setting strong and unique passwords.

In this article, we will discuss why using strong and unique passwords is important, and how to create such passwords. By following these guidelines you can better protect yourself from cyber threats and ensure that your personal and sensitive information remains safe and secure.

The LastPass Hack

LastPass detected suspicious activity on its network on October 15th, 2021, and instantly launched an investigation. The company found that the hackers accessed a database containing user email addresses, password reminders, and salted password hashes. 

However, the hackers couldn’t access users’ master passwords or the encrypted data stored in the vaults. This is because LastPass stores user data in a hashed and salted format, making it difficult for hackers to crack the passwords.

Although the hackers didn’t gain access to sensitive information, the incident still has major implications for LastPass users. The hackers could use the stolen email addresses and password reminders to launch phishing attacks or gain access to other accounts with the same login credentials. 

Additionally, if users have weak passwords, the hackers may still be able to gain access to their accounts using the stolen password hashes. To prevent further breaches, LastPass has advised all its users to change their master passwords and enable two-factor authentication for their accounts.

Why Set Strong Passwords?

If you hold any account that has any of your data (such as financial records and business transactions), it is recommended that you set passwords that are hard to guess and also set additional security measures that will protect your password from being compromised. The following are a few reasons why you should set or change your current password to a strong and unique one.

Better Protection of Sensitive Information.

Strong passwords are essential for protecting sensitive and personal information such as financial data, personal identification numbers, and confidential business information. A strong password can help ensure that this information stays confidential and is not misused by unauthorized individuals.

Increases Resilience Against Hacking.

Strong and unique passwords make it much more difficult for hackers to gain access to your accounts. Hackers often use automated tools to try thousands of possible combinations of characters to guess a password. The more complex a password is, the longer it will take for a hacker to crack it.

Prevention of Account Takeover Attacks.

Using a unique password for each account can prevent a hacker from using a compromised password to gain access to your multiple accounts. If they gain access to all your account it is known as an “account takeover attack” and can lead to unauthorized purchases, stolen personal information, or the sending of spam or phishing emails.

How to Create Strong and Unique Passwords

Choosing unique passwords across all your accounts will give you many benefits in safeguarding your data. Follow these tips to set a password for your accounts:

Use a Mix of Characters.

A strong password should contain a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, special characters, and numbers. Avoid using easily predictable information such as your name, address, or date of birth.

Make the Password Long.

A password should have a minimum of 12 characters. The longer the password, the tougher it is to crack.

Use Passphrases.

Instead of using a single word, create a passphrase using multiple words and characters. “S3t my p@ssword” is a good example. This can make it easier to remember and harder to crack.

Avoid Using the Same Password.

Never use the same password for multiple accounts. If one account is compromised, the attacker will have access to all the accounts that use the same password.

Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA).

Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) is an additional layer of security that requires a user to provide two forms of identification before accessing an account. It allows you to accompany your password with another form of authentication like biometrics or token.

Are You Ready To Increase Security for Your Accounts?

If sophisticated cybersecurity services can be hacked, it points to the need to strengthen your security details. B-Comp Services can guide and help you set IT security that will protect your data from the risks of cyberattacks.

Contact us today for a consultation. You can call 303-282-4934 or reach us online.

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