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Cybersecurity: how to create a secure password

Unite’s IT Operations Officer, Alexander Warschun, explains how complex a password needs to be.

We use the internet on a daily basis to send and receive emails, connect with our business partners on social media, etc. Sometimes we don’t think about cybersecurity when doing so. We trust that our credentials are protected, and our applications and connections are secure.

Secure your login data

You hear about hacked accounts and stolen or leaked credentials very often. There have been many globally recognised breaches of account data in the past, including huge social networks such as LinkedIn or Facebook. That’s why it’s crucial that you don’t reuse the same credentials for different services, especially not the ones you use for your business accounts, such as email or remote access.

Passwords should be as complex as possible, so attackers can’t guess them.

Passwords should be as complex as possible, so attackers can’t guess them. A minimum length of 12 characters with uppercase, lowercase, digits and even special characters is recommended. You should also prevent common patterns, such as birthdays or names, parts of your address like your postcode.

Alexander Warschun, IT Operations Officer at Unite

The following graphic from Hive Systems gives you a good idea of how complex a password should be for it to be considered safe enough for sensitive data.

Time it takes a hacker to brute force your password. Source: Hive Systems and Mike Halsey

Use a password manager

The challenge is to manage all these different credentials as no one can remember all these complex strings. That’s why the use of password managers for all business-related credentials is recommended. This way, you only need to remember your own master password to access your stored credentials.

Two-factor authentication

But strong and complex passwords are just one piece of the puzzle. To further secure your accounts, use a two-factor authentication whenever possible. This means that you have another required authentication method in addition to your password, such as an app on your mobile phone. It’s very unlikely that an attacker will have access to both authentication methods at the same time. The more critical the accounts are, the more important it is to protect them properly.

So, when it comes to cybersecurity, a simple password is not enough. Two-factor authentication offers the most secure protection.

About the author

Alexander Warschun

I’m Unite’s IT Operations Officer, responsible for the smooth and secure operation of our platform. I like working at Unite because I have a lot of creative freedom and get to contribute my own ideas. In addition, new and exciting challenges always ensure that I develop further.