For so long, the way to access online accounts has been through a unique username and password. Over the years, the number of online accounts we need to have has increased – from tracking utility bills to signing into our favourite streaming services.
For many, remembering all their login details isn’t easy – that’s why they reuse the same couple of passwords all the time. But there is a better solution for keeping track of passwords. Password managers are a great way to securely store and track all of your passwords, and we highly recommend them to everyone.
But are passwords a problem? Could they compromise your online security?
Weak passwords are perhaps the biggest vulnerability for online accounts. Weak passwords are generally short, only contain lowercase letters and are easy to remember words. Here are some weak password examples:
Recognise any of these? If any of these passwords are protecting your online accounts, please change them at once. All three were listed on the NordPass Top 200 most common passwords list in 2021. All of these passwords could be cracked in less than one second.
Short passwords like these are easy to remember. That’s why people use them. But unfortunately, that makes them easily compromised.
Alternatives to Passwords
Signing into accounts without a password has been around for a while. And no, we don’t mean simply providing a username. There are other ways of authenticating access securely.
A Microsoft account no longer requires a password. If you’re setting up a new account, you have the option of using alternative solutions. Or, if you already have an account, you can delete the password linked to your account.
Instead of a password, you can use one of:
- Microsoft Authenticator app
This mobile app will generate a new six digit code every 30 seconds to act as a second level of authentication. For your Microsoft account, you will receive a notification, asking whether the person trying to sign into your account is you. You may have to answer a simple question in the authenticator to gain access.
- Windows Hello
To access your account through your Windows device, you can use the biometrics of Windows Hello. Depending on your device, you might use facial or fingerprint recognition.
- Physical security key
Similar to Windows Hello access, you would use this if your device doesn’t come with Windows Hello. Use an external security key to unlock your Microsoft account and access your important files.
Do I Need to Remove my Passwords?
We’re all so used to passwords. Completely moving away from them may seem daunting, and there is no obligation to do so. Passwords are not going anywhere for the time being.
We would just recommend that all of your passwords are strong, and can’t be easily guessed. Then store them in a Password Manager, and you won’t need to worry about remembering individual passwords.
To get yourself ready for a potential passwordless future, familiarise yourself with some authenticator apps – particularly Microsoft’s. where possible, enable multi-factor authentication and get into the habit of using an authenticator app instead of text or email confirmation.
While passwords may disappear in the future, they are currently very much alive. So make sure all of yours are as strong as they can be.
Concerned about cyber security in your business? Get in touch with ACUTEC and speak to one of our security experts today.