Practical Security: Passwords

65 Password Security Tips: How to Create and Secure Accounts
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Given enough time and computing resources, most poorly constructed passwords will be cracked. The longer and more complex the password, the longer it will take an automated tool to test all the possible combinations to find a match. Adding a couple of digits to your password may increase the time it takes to crack your password from a few minutes to a few years. Use at least two upper-case letters, two lower-case letters, two numbers, and two special characters except the common ones such as "! If your password is only made up of lower-case alphabet letters, then you have just reduced the number of possible choices of each character to Even a fairly long password made up of one type of character can be cracked quickly.

Use a variety and use at least two of each type of character. Make the password as random as possible.

Many automated cracking tools first use what is called a "dictionary attack". The tool takes a specially made password dictionary file and tests it against the stolen password file. There is a high likelihood that someone used one of these simple passwords and the tool will quickly find a match using the dictionary method without even having to move on to the brute-force method.

How to Make a Strong Password

Don't use your initials, birth date, your kid's names, your pet's names, or anything else that could be gleaned from your Facebook profile or other public sources of information about you. Most of the IoT services did not provide signed or encrypted firmware updates, if updates were provided at all. Actually, the use of weak passwords is a security issue that has repeatedly been seen in IoT devices. In designing an IoT system, we should avoid using weak passwords Fig. Figure 2. There are many vulnerabilities that can lead to privilege escalation. Some of the most common are cross-site scripting, improper cookie handling, and weak passwords.

Follow These 20 Password Policy Best Practices to Keep Your Company Secure

Cross-site scripting and improper cookie handling can be protected against programmatically. Weak passwords require end-user education and the setting of password requirements.

You can set requirements for password complexity and password age limits. There are two other widely used methods of preventing privilege escalation. They are the principle of least privilege and the separation of privileges.

Authentication is a design problem and we keep giving the wrong answer to it.

When you are dealing with software, the principle of least privilege suggests that software modules or processes only have rights to perform the actions intended to be done by that module or process. The module should not have access to any other parts of the application, operating system, or file system. This way, if there is a vulnerability in that process and it is compromised, the attacker will only have access to a very limited area of the system.

Separation of privileges goes hand in hand with the principle of least privilege. Separation of privileges is dividing a program or process into smaller parts. Each of these parts has specific duties to perform. You have to be very careful with service accounts.

Passwords and passphrases | Stay Smart Online

Remember, when you specify a particular account for a service, everything that service does runs in the context of that user. If that service were to be compromised, the attacker would basically have the rights of the account that was used to run the service. You also need to be especially careful with services that can be used to run other commands, for example, the scheduler service. If your scheduler service runs with a service account that has administrative privileges, Ileana can schedule the command prompt to run.

When the scheduler starts the command prompt, it will be running with administrative privileges. Then, every command Ileana executes in the command prompt will run with administrative privileges.

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Passwords are the first line of defense for our IT systems and together with the user name help to establish that people are who they claim to be. A poorly chosen or misused password is a security risk and may impact upon the confidentiality, integrity, or availability of our computers and systems. A weak password is one which is easily discovered, or detected, by people who are not supposed to know it. Examples of weak passwords include words picked out of a dictionary, names of children and pets, car registration numbers, and simple patterns of letters from a computer keyboard. A strong password is a password that is designed in such a way that it is unlikely to be detected by people who are not supposed to know it, and difficult to work out even with the help of a computer.

More complex than a single word such passwords are easier for hackers to crack. The theories above describe some of the reasons why employees and users may not engage in the safest behaviors when online. They indicate why individuals might choose weak passwords , reuse passwords, share information without fully considering whether the other party is really trustworthy and overestimate their safety and security online. In some cases, users may be aware of these biases and distortions, but in others, they are unaware of the psychological and communication theories that may explain these behaviors.

Based on the theories outlined, we can develop some specific suggestions for how to overcome inhibitors to safer security behaviors. Based on CPM, it may be helpful to include cues for users before they share any information. For example, before a file with customer data is shared with a third party, the employee could be prompted to answer a number of questions to ensure that such sharing is appropriate. These could include questions about if the potential recipient of this information is trustworthy; what we might expect the recipient to do with the data; does the recipient need all of the data that the employee is about to send; and, if the employee was the third party, would they reasonably expect the data provided to be shared.

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Such an approach might be effective, but would not be suitable for routine cases, partially because completing these questions may become very irritating and time-consuming, and partially because if this approach is used too frequently the employees may develop shortcuts to completing the questions, without actually considering the individual case. Hyperpersonal Communication Theory could be utilized in aiding users and employees to think twice about the individuals that they are communicating with before sharing information with them.

The user could be prompted to review their communications with an individual before deciding whether or not to share information with them. They could also be prompted to consider if it is appropriate to share personal information with an individual who they have not previously met, and also if it is necessary to share this information with them.

Given the known tendency for individuals to be risk-averse when decisions are presented in a positive frame, it could be helpful to utilize this bias when presenting the prompts described above. The language used in the prompts is important, as is the perceived source of the prompts e. Be aware of confirmation bias—use mandatory checklists to demonstrate the appropriate security requirements, hence reducing the likelihood that individual users can avoid or ignore contradictory evidence. By ensuring that all information is clearly visible it can reduce the possibility that only confirmatory evidence is attended to.

Such checklists may also help to overcome optimism bias by including details on the risks involved should any item be neglected. However, as with item 1 above, care must be taken to ensure that the completion of these checklists does not become so routine that they are not thoroughly read and understood each time. Organizations can take advantage of salience and the availability heuristic by making the risks of poor security behaviors more visible.

Use case studies and visual cues to remind employees and users about the consequences of poor security, and ensure that these include tangible and vivid examples of the potential repercussions. If the user can easily visualize the potential harms, they are more likely to remember them. Where possible, try to make decision making about online security risks use System 2, to ensure that users deliberate about their actions appropriately.

Do not allow shortcuts to be taken, and ensure that full risk-benefit analysis is completed before a decision can be confirmed.

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In this tip on password security best practices, expert Michael Cobb explains why So despite their weaknesses, both in terms of security and practical use, we. In general, the more “secure” a password is, the more of a hassle it causes the employee who has to use it. To take one extreme, the most secure password.

For example, when prompted to create a password the easiest option should be the development of a strong password via an automated generator. Bear in mind the research regarding learning when trying to encourage safer behaviors. Provide appropriate rewards for following security guidelines while also considering that not following the guidelines, or seeking shortcuts, is a reward in itself due to the reduced effort required.

The rewards offered for following security guidelines should be sufficiently desirable and visible that they are more tempting to employees than the avoidance of the effort required to obtain them.

Real Business Advice!

We're pleased to present the first in a series of practical security posts for our policyholders. Despite an explosion of cybersecurity buzzwords ranging from anomaly detection to next generation anti-virus, our claims data and experience reveal that simple security measures are often the most effective.

This week we turn our focus to password security. Most computer systems rely on passwords, and all the cybersecurity in the world won't help you if someone knows or guesses your password. As an employee or business owner, you likely use passwords for everything from email to payroll to CRM systems.

In many cases, a hacker can ruin your business just by guessing your password to one of these systems and cutting themselves a healthy check or mocking up a fraudulent invoice. Accordingly, it is imperative that you protect the passwords that protect your business.

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This question already has an answer here: Is forcing users to change passwords useful? I realized a long time ago that not everyone makes good software. Oh, and you should turn on two-factor authentication 2FA for all of your accounts when available no matter what. And the NIST rules that martinstoeckli mentioned are designed to be passphrase-friendly. In terms of your online stuff, that means passwords.

Following these rules might sound like a pain, but it can be even easier than remembering your current passwords, thanks to password managers. Password managers are programs that keep track of your different accounts and passwords for you, usually protected by a single, strong password, and only accessible from your computer or your other devices. There are several different kinds of password managers:. If your users create accounts with you, this opens you up to potentially significant security issues and liability if you do not take precautions against account hijacking.

There are a few principles you should adhere to in order to mitigate the risk of handling and storing passwords:. Taking these basic precautions, or requiring them of your users, requires little effort, but provides enormous returns. Just one more way that Coalition works with its clients to not only insure risk, but proactively mitigate it.

Advice for all businesses As an employee or business owner, you likely use passwords for everything from email to payroll to CRM systems.