NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Passwords are needed for everything from our bank accounts to emails and social media, but do you ever wonder how secure your passwords really are? Local cybersecurity expert Michael Moore of M3 Networks says every day we are fighting a cyberwar, and you may not even know it.
So how strong is your defense? Well, it all depends on the passwords you choose for your accounts.
“Hackers want to attack the people that make it easy for them,” Moore said. “If your password is something as simple as ‘password123,’ everybody knows that’s really insecure.”
Michael says he’s been watching data breaches on some of the nation’s largest companies for years, but now in the midst of the war between Russia and Ukraine, he says cybersecurity should be at the top of everyone’s minds.
So what can you do? Well, he says instead of passwords, consider using passphrases. They’re similar, but there are some key differences that can help protect you.
“A passphrase is essentially a sentence. You want that to be at least 30 characters, and you want to use spaces. So in the example that I often get, people use a vacation destination like ‘I really want to go to Miami.'”
On average, Michael says phrases are much harder to guess and make your accounts more secure. If you add in special characters like “@” symbols or spaces in your phrase, it ups your security even more.
“You can add an exclamation point to the end of that if you want; a password cracker is going to take thousands of years to crack that versus maybe just a few seconds to crack your simple standard password.”
Michael says good cyber hygiene is something we need to consider year-round. One way to do that? Make sure you have different passwords for your accounts and take advantage of a password manager if you have a lot of accounts to handle.
“The reality is, people aim to do you harm. Don’t make it easy for them.”
This story was originally reported by Nicole Nielson, CBS News DFW