How to Make Your Passwords Stronger In the Coronavirus Era

How to Make Your Passwords Stronger In the Coronavirus Era

How can your business make your passwords stronger in the coronavirus era? What available and affordable tools or resources can help you make your passwords stronger? Is investing in your passwords the right call at this critical juncture? 

Previously, the editors of Solutions Review presented a rather dim view of passwords as an authentication factor. In fact, we listed the charges against passwords as follows: 

  • Hackers can easily guess or crack passwords. Some use readily available tools from the Dark Web, others make educated guesses based on publicly available information like social media. In either case, hackers can easily bypass most password-only security systems. 
  • Repeated passwords can create a cascading effect of data breaches; if one data breach exposes passwords, hackers can use those passwords on other sites. Given that so many users repeat their passwords to avoid forgetting or losing them, this often causes another data exposure. 
  • Users generally do not prefer passwords because they often forget or lose them, forcing them through the tedium of password recovery. They prefer other factors once they get used to them. 

The editors of Solutions Review continue to maintain these facts and proclaim them to business decision-makers. Instead, we advise organizations of all sizes to embrace multifactor authentication (MFA); this imposes multiple barriers between the access request and your sensitive data. The more factors in authentication, the less likely hackers can infiltrate your business. 

However, the coronavirus forces us to make some considerations and accommodation in our thoughts on enterprise identity management. 

Why You Need to Make Your Passwords Stronger  

The coronavirus imposes some serious obstacles for businesses of all sizes. Due to the need for social distancing, many have needed to close temporarily. Others reluctantly embraced mass work-from-home. In either case, it severely curtailed many companies’ cybersecurity plans and strategies. Many budgets have been affected and altered, and cybersecurity via identity management has dropped in priority. 

Obviously, given that hackers do not rest even during the coronavirus era, cybersecurity still matters. Yet you may feel stuck with password-only authentication schemes until you can unify your workforce under a cybersecurity policy. Thankfully, your business isn’t stuck—your business could still reach out to the top identity management and privileged access solution providers. 

But hypothetically, you may feel like you need to stick to passwords for the time being. That doesn’t mean you can ignore identity management best practices. 

Here’s what you need to know. 

Key Resources: How to Make Your Passwords Stronger

The Top 7 Password Attack Methods (And How to Prevent Them)

First, before you can take the steps necessary to make your passwords stronger, you need to know what challenges await. Brute Force Attacks and Phishing attacks are common, but your business also faces more obscure tactics like rainbow table attacks. We detailed all of this in an article on the top seven kinds of password attacks

What Causes Password Compromise (And How to Prevent It)

Password compromise is a serious issue, as we described above. Worse, it doesn’t necessarily happen because of a password attack. Instead, it happens because users use weak passwords in the first place. We explore the issue in-depth in this article

The Top 6 Password Strength Checkers and Validation Tools

Sometimes, the problem facing users isn’t making a new password but making an inherently strong password. Password Strength Checkers help employees generate stronger passwords while keeping them memorable; it helps them avoid common pitfalls like using birthdays or common phrases like Star Wars. 

Alternatively, some tools like Have I Been Pwned? can help users figure out if any of their passwords appeared in a breach or exposure, encouraging them to make changes. We cover our top 6 choices here.

The 10 Best Free and Open Source Identity Management Tools

If selecting a full-fledged solution is too much in the coronavirus era, then a free identity management tool can help bridge the temporary gap. We list the top ten open source IAM tools here. Again, you should not consider these tools a substitution for a full-fledged solution. However, it can help you deal with current challenges in your identity and access management.

Expert Commentary on World Password Day 2019       

World Password Day 2020 is coming soon, and this might be a good time to refresh on the commentary and statistics on password security from 2019. We spoke to experts on how to make your passwords stronger and how to deal with password-only security. Take a look at the full compilation of expert commentary here. 

How to Encourage Good Password Habits Among Your Employees

Finally, we covered how to actively encourage the best passwords from your employees. Sometimes in cybersecurity, it really does come down to employee participation and knowledge. While your business must lead the way, your employees need to follow its example. Check out our best practice recommendations here. 

Again, if you have the option, you shouldn’t rely on passwords alone. Embrace identity management and privileged access management at its fullest with the top solution providers and key capabilities.

       

Ben Canner

Ben Canner is an enterprise technology writer and analyst covering Identity Management, SIEM, Endpoint Protection, and Cybersecurity writ large. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from Clark University in Worcester, MA. He previously worked as a corporate blogger and ghost writer. You can reach him via Twitter and LinkedIn.
Ben Canner