Research points out that more 80% of data breaches happen due to password hacking, meaning that poor password hygiene is responsible for a majority of cybercrimes that follow data breaches. To make sense of this statistic better, let’s first look at what constitutes poor password hygiene.
Using simple passwords
Often passwords that are easy-to-remember are easy-to-hack. Do you use passwords such as password, password1234, etc.,? If yes, then you should be changing them at the earliest to something less obvious. Something that is not straight forward and so easy to figure out.
Repeating passwords across platforms
As another solution for remembering passwords, people often tend to use one, single password universally. This dilutes the password even if it is a strong one. Plus, there’s always the risk of the password being hacked at one place and putting the data stored at all other places also at risk. We highly recommend that you use different passwords for different platforms to avoid being hacked all round.
Unauthorized password sharing
Unauthorized password sharing for the sake of getting things done faster is a very real problem. For example, someone is on leave and someone else needs access to a particular file from their computer. The employee who is on leave shares the password and that can result in a security compromise. Your password is your personal credential and should not be shared with any other personal whatsoever.
Writing down passwords
This the most obvious, yet oft-made password mistake. Just so they don’t forget the passwords, people tend to write them down on a piece of paper, a diary or sometimes, store it on their phone. You know what can follow if the piece of paper or diary or the phone is stolen. Same goes for storing passwords on email and if the email server is compromised. Avoid writing down passwords !
Not revoking access on time
Cases where ex-employees log-in credentials were used to hijack company data are not unusual. When companies forget to revoke the access of employees as they move out of the department or organization, they are leaving a gaping cybersecurity hole open which is easy to take advantage of.
Not updating passwords
Using the same password for years or even months can be risky. We recommend that passwords should be changed every 3 months and perhaps even sooner for critical applications.
Single factor authentication
For the more critical areas, multi-factor authentication must be deployed. Relying on password alone is a huge cybersecurity risk. Multi-factor authentication includes tokens, biometric authentication, OTPs, etc., which make it very difficult to hack into the application.
These are some of the basic password mistakes that almost everyone is guilty of at some point. You can prevent these from happening to you and in your organization by educating your staff about them and training them well to cultivate good password hygiene.