As the cyber threat landscape grows more complex, amidst rising ransomware threats, even fears over Eurovision being disrupted by hackers, Steve Bradford and Rex Booth consider that password hygiene must be at the forefront of all online activities. Stating that users and businesses alike need to go beyond ‘common practices’ when protecting their digital identities, tapping into tools such as MFA and password managers to fortify digital defences as well as using simple maths to their advantage.

Steve Bradford, Senior Vice President, EMEA, at SailPoint

“While we have gone from laptops to BlackBerrys to iPhones to tablets, the password has always been there – no matter what the developments in tech, passwords remain a critical security tool.

“Outside of usernames, passwords are the most widely-used security control in the world, but are commonly overlooked, abused, used (or reused) for longer than they should be. Often on World Password Day, the common advice is to avoid giving the wrong people access to your accounts or make sure you create strong and unique passwords for every account. Whilst this advice is vital common practice, there is more individuals and businesses should be doing to protect their digital identities in the digital era.

“To start, where possible, multifactor authentication (MFA) for online accounts should be used. This sends a user multiple identification verifications before they can gain access to an account – providing an additional layer of protection. Hand in hand with this comes single sign-on (SSO) which offers an alternative to constantly entering passwords, requiring only one login that applies not only to the identity provider, but also to all other assigned applications.”

Rex Booth, CISO at SailPoint

“With the rise of biometrics and multi factor authentication, many individuals and businesses overlook the importance of passwords. Passwords are a critical element of our digital security ecosystem, yet often, they are neglected, reused and shared across multiple accounts.  

“This World Password Day, there needs to be a shift in mindset – putting password hygiene at the forefront of all online activities. It sounds like common knowledge, but when it comes to protecting your digital identity, simple maths is key. With a 10-character password made of numbers and letters taking about 7 months to crack, and a 12-character password taking up to 2,000 years.  

“Many of us know not to share our passwords with other people, yet we ignore this practice when it comes to sharing them across multiple applications. A shared password stolen from one application can be used to break into your other applications. Once a cybercriminal has gained access to an account via compromised login credentials, it’s easy to move freely around the network and access sensitive data. For this reason, it’s imperative passwords are unique to each application.  

“We all have too many passwords to remember, so using a password management tool to record and secure your passwords can be game changing. All you need to do is remember the master password and ensure it uses multi-factor authentication to identify you.”

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