We live in a technology focused world, where between four and twenty characters are the distinction makers in whether you’re able to access your data, communicate with friends, or make your online purchases. These distinction makers are commonly known as passwords and the issue is that they should not be similar wherever you use them, and that can make it difficult to remember them all. And, if a password is truly strong, that makes it even more difficult.
The US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has issued new guidelines for password security that turn accepted wisdom about creating long strings of letters, numbers and symbols on its head.
NIST, a non-regulatory federal agency within the US Department of Commerce, issued the original advice in 2003 that became the global standard for password security. But it now says the advice led people to create predictably ‘complex’ passwords in a bid to remember them, which made them more vulnerable to hackers.
Key changes in NIST’s new digital identity guidelines include:
- Don’t arbitrarily mix letters, numbers and symbols to make a password. Instead, create passwords that are more memorable.
- Single dictionary words, the user’s street address or numeric sequences such as 1234567 should be banned.
- Organisations should screen the strength of their passwords against those used in cyber-criminal dictionary attacks; a method of breaking into a password-protected computer or server by systematically entering every word in a dictionary as a password.
- Stop frequently changing passwords, for example each month, as it leads to poor passwords being created.
If you have any concern in relation to this article or you are having trouble while creating strong passwords, please feel free to contact Computer Support Professional’s friendly technical team. We are available 24/7.
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