Passwords are like the keys to our online homes, but the scary thing is that so many people still use simple passwords that can be easily hacked. Surely you wouldn’t leave your door unlocked, so here are our 6 tips for more secure passwords.

According to the NBN network, some of the favourite passwords for Australians and New Zealanders are “123456”, “12345678”, “password” and “qwerty”.

Poor passwords are a big reason why Australian companies are vulnerable to cyber attacks that can steal data, and worse, customer or client data.

It can be a little inconvenient to remember so many different passwords and often it becomes tempting to use the same simple password for all your accounts, but these days however, passwords are more important than ever, especially due to a rise in cyber attacks, malware and phishing. it is absolutely important to manage your passwords for the highest level of security possible.

Security personnel is sharing the message: This isn’t just multinational or foreign companies that are being targeted by hackers, but organisations of various sizes, including Small and Medium sized businesses.

Some sensible password strategies include

Require multiple passwords for different areas.

Though employees may complain and say that using the same one through all company networks saves them time, it also makes it easier for cybercriminals to crack a system once to access your entire network. Having different logins for different servers or security areas could limit access – even from your own staff.

Don’t use personal details in passwords

Some prefer easy passwords like a family pet, a maiden name, a neighbourhood or a birthday. But these are easier to guess.

Avoid Patterns

The less patterns you use in your password the better, whether it’s keyboard patterns, alphabetical or numerical patterns. It just makes it a little easier for the hackers to guess.

Create time limits

Managers can encourage employees to log out every time they get up or put down their phones. But a policy like this will rarely be 100 percent effective unless their desktop and mobile devices are programmed to automatically lock up after a short amount of time. They won’t just go to sleep, which is a common energy-saving task, but also require a login to reactivate. This could cause some gripes, but better security can be worth a few extra seconds. A directive can also be offered to make sure passwords are not placed in obvious places, like on a sticky note on a monitor.

Discourage auto-logins

Some sites remember your passwords and other credentials by putting a ‘cookie’ into your system. This makes pages load faster and doesn’t require a login on every visit. However, this can create security concerns, especially for unauthorised access to a computer or device history.

Try a password manager

This type of software can help people customise their passwords, with random letters, numbers and characters. It also can create longer strings that are more difficult to guess (12 letters instead of the common 5 or 6). These can also have a shorter lifespan than a personal password that may never expire. A generated password may only last a day or a week until a new one is created and issued. This policy can also deter hacking efforts – if someone tries an older password, it may not work, or could even set off alerts for improper access.