Password Protection, It’s on You.

Identity theft is a major problem in today’s society. One great way to prevent identity theft is password protection. By following some simple steps and guidelines you can mitigate the risk of your credentials being stolen. There are three main ways that your password can be compromised. Your password can be guessed or your password recovery answers can be solved by someone who is out to get you. Your password can be cracked by a brute force attack that systematically try’s all password combinations until it gets it right. Or there could be a data breach in the system you access and the attackers download all your information from a hacked server. While there is not much that you the individual can do to protect against a data breach other than have faith that the system you are accessing takes proper measures to protect your credentials, there are several ways that you can protect your log in credentials from being guessed or brute force hacked.

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One great way to protect your password is to avoid posting personal information to your social media accounts. Many password recovery questions as things like your mother’s maiden name or your favorite pet’s name. If someone who is out to get you is able to view your social media accounts, they may be able to solve your questions and gain access to change your password. It is also a great idea to be aware of your surroundings. Logging into websites and applications from public places can be risky as someone may try to shoulder surf and see you type in your password. Beware unsecured public Wi-Fi, it is not difficult for malicious individuals to monitor network traffic on public routers and hot spots in hotels, airports, and coffee shops. So if you have to perform any secure logins or transactions, it is best to do so from private and secure networks.

To protect against brute force attacks it is important to use long passwords that use a variety of characters including upper case, lowercase, numbers, and symbols. The longer and more complex the password, the longer it will take for a brute force hack to guess your password correctly. Changing your password often also prevents brute force attacks. It takes a long time to crack a password via brute force so the more often you change your password, the less likely a brute force attack has a chance of being successful. It is also important that when you change your password that your new password be unique and notably different than the previous password. Changing your password from P@$$w0rd123 to P@$$w0rd456 may meet all length and complexity requirements but is not different enough from the previous password to slow down a brute force attack.

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One of the most secure ways to secure your login credentials is to use multi-factor authentication to log in. Multi-factor authentication is the use of at least two different types of authentication together to log in. The different authentication types are: something you have, something you know, and something you are. An example of something you have would be a smart card like a chip in a credit card. Something you know would be a password or a PIN number. Something you are could be a thumbprint, voice recording, or retinal scan. Since it is unlikely that an attacker would be able to get a hold of more than one factor, multi-factor authentication is considered one of the most secure ways to authenticate.
 
Remember, it is up to you to protect and secure your identity from malicious invaders. Your identity, your credit, your money, and your pride can all be negatively affected by an identity theft’s actions. If you have any ideas on ways to protect your identity, please comment below.

References for Informational Sources
​Granger, S. (2011). The Simplest Security: A Guide To Better Password Practices. Retrieved from http://www.symantec.com/connect/articles/simplest-security-guide-better-password-practices

Profis, S. (2016). The Guide To Password Security (And Why You Should Care). Retrieved from https://www.cnet.com/how-to/the-guide-to-password-security-and-why-you-should-care/

Rouse, M. (2015). Multi-Fator Authentication (MFA). Retrieved from http://searchsecurity.techtarget.com/definition/multifactor-authentication-MFA
 
​Winkler, I. (2016). The threat of shoulder surfing should not be underestimated. Retrieved from http://www.csoonline.com/article/3021882/security/the-threat-of-shoulder-surfing-should-not-be-underestimated.html

References for Media

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