What World Password Day Means in 2021

Each year in May, World Password Day is observed to promote better password habits. But is this “holiday” as relevant today as it once was? While strong passwords are certainly still an important part of keeping organizations secure, it’s only a piece of the ever-evolving cybersecurity puzzle. In this post, we’ll cover tips to creating strong passwords and discuss why extra security layers are necessary to maximize security.

Tips for Creating Strong Passwords

Our partners at KnowB4 help enable CompleteCloud users to make smarter security decisions, every day. Below are some tips they offer for strong passwords in 2021.

  • Keep your passwords private – never share a password with anyone else.
  • Do not write down your passwords.
  • Use passwords of at least eight (8) characters or more (longer is better).
  • Use a combination of uppercase letters, lower case letters, numbers, and special characters (for example: !, @, &, %, +) in all passwords.
  • Avoid using people’s or pet’s names, or words found in the dictionary; it’s also best to avoid using key dates (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.).
  • Substituting look-alike characters for letters or numbers is no longer sufficient (for example, “Password” and “P@ssw0rd”).
  • A strong password should look like a series of random characters.
  • On the web, if you think your password may have been compromised, change it at once and then check your other website accounts for misuse. At work, change your password at once, and then call your company’s IT Security help desk.

If you don’t yet have a password policy within your company, passing these tips along to your employees is a good place to start. After all, your own team’s lack of cybersecurity education is often the biggest threat to your security.

Why Extra Layers are Essential

The possibility of cybercriminals cracking your passwords isn’t the only thing to worry about. Relying on a trusted team of IT professionals that takes a layered approach to security is essential to every business. Why? The year 2020 broke all records when it came to data lost in breaches and sheer numbers of cyber-attacks on companies, government, and individuals. Here are just a few alarming statistics reported by Forbes.

  • On average, only 5% of companies’ folders are properly protected.
  • Nearly 80% of IT leaders believe their organizations lack sufficient protection against cyberattacks despite increased IT security investments made in 2020 to deal with work-from-home challenges.
  • The average cost of a data breach was $3.86 million as of 2020 and cybercrime is expected to cost the world $10.5 trillion annually by 2025.
  • Every minute, $2,900,000 is lost to cybercrime and top companies pay $25 per minute due to cybersecurity breaches.
  • In 2020, malware increased by 358% overall and ransomware increased by 435% as compared with 2019.
  • The world faces over 100,000 malicious websites and 10,000 malicious files daily.
  • Phishing attacks account for more than 80% of reported security incidents. Google has registered 2,145,013 phishing sites as of Jan 17, 2021.
  • A ransomware attack occurred every 10 seconds in 2020, including 1 in 5 Americans who fell victim.

Understanding the severity of these cybersecurity statistics can help your organization point to gaps and growing threats. Most importantly, it’s a call to take the risk management mission more seriously. If your organization needs help developing a cybersecurity strategy that’s fit for the challenges of today and the future, we’re here to help.