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  • Writer's pictureInception Security

How Secure Are Your Passwords?

Updated: Apr 22, 2022

Strong passwords play an essential role in safeguarding your company's data and client information. Unfortunately, due to weak or non-existing password policies, many companies face a high risk of data breaches. Nowadays, cyber-attacks are common, and hackers use many techniques to crack passwords. Although a brute force attack is still old, it is still practical and common among hackers. Brute force attacks work on" trial-and-error" methods and guess the hidden content of web pages, login credentials, and encryption keys.

Best ways to keep the hackers out:

For an organization's defense, it is necessary to make it difficult to crack your user's passwords. For this purpose, organizations and users can use the following policies to reduce the risk of password cracking.

Password policies:

The use of password policies is the first line of protection. They're usually a collection of rules designed to increase security by encouraging or forcing users to generate and keep secure passwords. In addition, password policies govern events of the password life cycle. This life cycle consists of authentication, periodic resets, and expiration. Setting these policies sometimes frustrates the user because they spend a lot of time creating a password. So by providing guidelines to users, it will lessen their frustration.

The examples of password policies are:

  • Long password requirement:

To improve the security of your account, you should use long passwords containing a different combination of special characters, numbers, and alphanumeric letters.

  • Avoid using personal details:

You should avoid using personal details in your passwords because it becomes easy to crack your password if a hacker gets access to your personal information.

  • For different accounts, use different passwords:

It is good practice to use different passwords for different accounts because if they get access to your one account, they will access all your other accounts.

  • Sharing of passwords should be discouraged:

When discussing password policies, it should be mentioned that password sharing is not allowed. Two-factor authentication also makes it possible to avoid password sharing as it requires a second factor in which the user has to enter a code that he received on his cell phone via message or call.

Password screening:

The best way to prevent dictionary attacks is to screen them against known lists of dictionaries and compromised passwords. Compromised password screens collect all the data from internet and dark web sources, and when a user creates a password, it determines whether the password is already compromised. It is beneficial for e-commerce companies and commerce sites.

How easy passwords are cracked:

Nowadays, hackers are developing new programs or new techniques for cracking passwords. There are many techniques through which hackers can easily crack the password. Some of the methods are following:

  • Phishing:

Phishing is perhaps the most popular method for hackers to obtain your password due to its low cost and ease of setup. It entails fabricating a fake application or message to persuade users to provide all their personal information to a website that can duplicate it instantaneously. These kinds of apps may easily access your bank account and email account.

  • Brute Force Attacks:

It is an old attack method in which they try to 'force' their way into your private account by using extreme force.

  • Social engineering:

It is used to get the user's personal information by pretending that he is from the network security officer and asking for network access passwords to offer assistance.

  • Dictionary attack:

Many people use the same word, phrases, etc., for passwords because it is hard to memorize them. These techniques take advantage of this thing and work by passing a list of frequently used passwords and phrases through a computer system until anything matches. These dictionaries contain the most common passwords and word combinations gained from previous hacks.

  • Mask attack:

It is just like the dictionary attack, but hackers access the password if he knows the first letter in this technique. The objective is to cut the time it takes to break a password in half and eliminate needless processing.

Password policies best practices:

Some standard password policy best practices are:

  • Password history enforcement:

Password repetition should be avoided because if one of your sites gets hacked, it might have ramifications for the rest of your company.

  • Change password periodically:

Password should be changed after 30, 60, and 90 days to assist with network security.

  • Login time limit:

The system should restrict users from entering the password in the new session and does not allow "Remember me" features.

  • Email notifications:

Before password expiration, an email notification should be sent to alert the user for password change.

  • Complexity requirements should be set:

For maximum security, the use of complex passwords is encouraged.

  • Multi-factor authentication implementation:

Multi-factor authentication consists of two or three-factor to verify the identity of a user before granting access to the user.

  • Password generator usage:

Although generating complex passwords can feel like a difficult task, there are options like password generators that can be used to create secure passwords.

  • To manage passwords, use an encrypted database:

Complex passwords are hard to remember these days, so it is strongly advised that you use a password manager.

We can help!

Are you looking for ongoing advisory services to assist in identifying vulnerabilities and security policies that should be in place and help improve your security posture? The team at Inception Security™ has been leveraged to enhance the security posture of fortune 100 companies, small and medium-sized businesses. Our team has a depth of knowledge in the cybersecurity industry and will be able to provide value to your business right away.

Contact Inception Security if your company is looking for advisory services.


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