Cybersecurity: Password Misconceptions Revealed

As technology advances and incidents of cybersecurity threats become common, authentication technologies constantly have to keep evolving. Many experts are now looking into password authentication alternatives such as biometrics, multi-factor authentication and behavioral analysis.

Generally, accounts get hacked because of poorly managed, weak or easy to guess passwords.  Below, we discuss the most common misconceptions concerning passwords:

Myth: Biometrics Solve all Security Problems

Biometrics offer an easy way to remember passwords, by not having to. All you need is your finger for access. This is a secure authentication method when you have single-factor authentication. It also makes it hard for hackers to access your accounts as a fingerprint and retina scan is a set of 1s and 0s.

However, if someone was to get possession of your fingerprints, then they’d have access to all accounts you secure using your fingerprint, including your bank account. It’s not like you can purchase new fingerprints online.

Myth: Online Password Checkers are Accurate

Many sites provide password ratings that let you know if your password is between weak and very strong. They may also provide suggestions to better your password strength.

However, studies have shown that the system does not know what order makes the strongest password, meaning that throwing letters and numbers together because the password checker told you to may not give you a very strong password.

Myth: Maximum Security Requires a Complex Password

Many believe that a complex and unique password is virtually unhackable and hence secure for your account. However, since hacking is mostly carried out by a computer system, it’ll only take a few seconds to get your password. If you use 8 characters or less, it’s even easier. Cybersecurity experts advocate for passwords which are at least 16 characters long.

In any case though, one can never be completely immune to phishing, social engineering or man-in-the-middle attacks.

Myth: Two factor Authentication is Reliable

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is one of the best ways to secure your account password. It is however not 100% impenetrable. The use of social engineering by hackers is an effective way to bypass your 2FA and have access your account.  Not to mean it isn’t safe. Having 2FA makes your account much safer as compared to without it. Note that having a 2FA with a weak password is no different than having no password at all.

Currently, SMS verification is a secure and convenient way to verify whether the person who accessed the account is the owner.

Google Authenticator is another alternative that generates verification codes that are sent to your phone before one is allowed access to their account.

Passwords are still the most effective and secure methods though, so ensure your password is unique, long and is a combination of both upper case and lower case letters, numbers as well as special characters.  Adding two-factor authentication provides extra protection. With this in place, access to mining equipment and data will be restricted to authorized personnel, which could be helpful for mining companies including Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. (NYSE: CLF).

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