five top tips for creating stronger, safer passwords for the single sign-on cloud
22nd January 2014
With so much of our daily lives spent online, whether it be at home, in education or in the workplace, the need to ensure that the passwords we login with are safe and secure has never been more important. From accessing social media and email to working and sharing in a cloud based environment, we are all spending much more time in the digital world than previous generations, and this behaviour is only going to increase. With the advent of single sign-on portals it is vital that we all ensure that the passwords we generate are at once memorable but also secure. By following a few simple tips we can all create an environment whereby our systems and software are safely protected.
1: start with a memorable phrase that is personal to you
Each of us is influenced by the experiences and memories of our own lives, so we can all recall a specific phrase or lyric that easily comes to mind. For instance, if you’re an Arsenal football fan you may recall Brian Moore’s famous “It’s up for grabs now” commentary quote (all die-hard Arsenal fans of a certain age do!). Taking this starting point you can convert this phrase into the acronym “iufgn”.
2: a longer password is much harder to break
If you spend any amount of time online you’ll have had to sign up to services or create new accounts. As such you will have come across password strength detectors which let you know how strong or weak your proposed password is. A key factor in determining this is the length of your password. More characters equals more strength. A short password makes it a lot easier for hackers to break your password. From the starting phrase acronym you can now add additional words that reflect the usage of your password. For instance, if your password is for social media, such as Facebook, you might extend the original acronym to “iufgnfbook”. You can add variations to the starting acronym that reflect the password usage, such as “iufgntwit” for Twitter etc.
3: introduce uppercase and non-alphabetic characters
The inclusion of uppercase and non-alphabetic characters is vital in the creation of your password. This exponentially increases the number of variations available in a password and makes it supremely stronger. Mixing up lower and upper case characters is important since password fields are case sensitive. If your password has been overheard, this layer of defence will make all the difference when an intruder simply types the overheard password in lowercase. Numeric characters are also very useful and their inclusion greatly increases the permutations available when creating a password. Best of all are the non-alphabetic and numeric characters, such as “%”, “£” and “&”. There are many of these seemingly random characters to choose from, and their inclusion makes it much, much harder to crack a password.
With our example you could add uppercase and non-alphabetic characters so that the password evolves to “1uf9NfB%k”. Many passwords are required to be a minimum amount of characters, so consider extending the length with another easily remembered but personal phrase or piece of information, just like the acronym at the beginning. Birthdays seem obvious, but it is for this very reason that they are best avoided. Instead, select another idea personal to you, for instance the acronym of a favourite song title or lyric. For example, if you’re a fan of 80’s indie legends The Smiths you will never forget the song “This Charming Man”. Adding this acronym to our password could result in the variation “1uf9NfB%kTCm”.
4: update, change or tweak your password regularly
With the increase in online crime, particularly in identity theft, you can never be too careful when it comes to protecting your password. The best way to ensure that your password remains safe is to regularly update, change or tweak it. If completely changing your password structure seems like too much trouble, tweaking your existing version is a suitable alternative. In the case of our password a small tweak results in “1uf9NfB%kTCm” becoming “1UFgnfB%KTcm”. This is especially useful since the essence of the password remains the same – and therefore easy to remember – but protects against potential incursions by keystroke malware.
5: tell no one, write nowhere
Your passwords are your business, and not for anyone one else. If you share your password, or leave a record of it lying around, you are inviting the possibility of online crime. If you select phrases and acronyms that are genuinely memorable to you there is little or no chance of you ever forgetting your passwords, and thus no reason to share or record them. In a busy workplace you are likely to access company files, software and digital assets via a single sign-on environment. Single sign-on makes accessing the cloud much simpler for authorised users, but for the very same reason makes it even more vital that your password remains safe, secret and secure.
Impero YouID single sign-on portal provides safe and secure access to the cloud
For an intuitive and secure portal solution for seamless single sign-on to all your organisation’s web applications discover what YouID can offer you. Simply sign in once to your personalised webtop and you can access everything you need for working online. Whether it be everyday work tools, such as Office 365, or online resources and individual accounts such as YouTube and Gmail, Impero YouID ensures that accessing, navigating and securing your cloud is simple, safe and secure.