Many business professionals subscribe to the “set and forget” theory when it comes to creating, organizing and storing passwords. Though creating a strong password is an important part of your business’ web security, there are other factors involved as well. In this article I will share some tools and systems to creating a secure password, testing that password for strength and “crack-a-bility” and ways to keep this valuable information safe.
Creating Strong Passwords:
In light of the ongoing battle against online brute-force hackers and security breaches like the ones experienced by retail giants like Target, Home Depot and Best Buy, all business owners need to give careful thought to the act of creating passwords. Microsoft reports that the strength of a password depends on the different types of characters you use, the overall length of the password, and whether the password can be found in a dictionary. Best practices for creating secure passwords include avoiding ridiculously simple-to-crack-passwords like 123ABC, your child’s name or simple (and obvious) words like “Password” or “MyPassword.” Online experts also feel all passwords should be at least 8 or more characters long. It you are stumped as to what a good password would be for your business, consider utilizing free password creation tools like Norton’s Password Generator and Random Password Generator .
Testing the Strength:
Free sites like How Secure is my Password and Passwordmeter will help determine if your chosen password is a winner or could use some help. Microsoft also has its own built in password strength tester that promises that the form is completely secure. Mac users can use the built-in Password Assistant to check their passwords’ security.
Keeping it all Safe:
Sites like Facebook and Gmail give users the option to enable two-step-verification; and this tactic comes highly recommend by online security experts. When enabled, signing in will require users to also enter a code that’s sent as a text message to their phone. Though sometimes inconvenient if your mobile device isn’t handy, it also means a hacker who isn’t in possession of your phone won’t be able to sign in either (even if they know your password).
For those of you who have to keep track of the log in information for a multitude of sites, my favorite password saving/generating tool is RoboForm Everywhere. RoboForm is a program that allows you to save all of your passwords in one place. The best thing is that you only need to remember one master password to access the password storage. With the Everywhere version, you can access your account on all of your devices, no matter where you are. Mine is accessible on my desktop computer, my laptop, my iPad, my iPhone and anyone else’s computer, as long as I know my user ID and password to log into the system (this is the only logon information RoboForm does not remember for you ;). RoboForm Everywhere for Windows, Mac and Mobile is now available for a whopping $9.95 for the first year!