Requiring Employees to Remember Massive Passwords Can Often Lead to Disaster
The memory capacity of our brains is limited by the litter it processes every day. Having too many passwords formulated with alphanumeric combinations, special characters, and signs can quickly transform your high level of security into nothing more than mass chaotic confusion. In the name of safety, the company boss and IT manager may insist that every employee reset passwords and PINs on every account they use – and reset these often. In the end, following these strict safeguards can do nothing more than create a dizzying mess of impossible passwords users will never be able to remember.
The result? Users may post these passwords where they can see them and a hacker can find them!
A User ID & Password
In years past, the idea of using a single user ID combined with an ordinary password seemed the best way of keeping unwanted eyes from confidential information. However, as the internet has grown and transformed over the last few decades, we have come to realize our information stored online was never really safe from prying eyes. In fact, all of the weak passwords we use today were also weak passwords years ago, and something that always left us vulnerable to identity theft and other compromises on the internet.
Strengthening Weak Passwords
In an effort to strengthen weak passwords, we have maximized our brainpower and stressed our memories to maintain a high level of security at the office. Many of us are required to set and remember dozens if not scores of passwords, many unique in their own way dues different complexity requirements. Adding to this misery, many of these passwords must be changed every 90 days or less. In the end, we often fail to remember any of them because our minds are not capable of recalling words that are oddly spelled, passwords that contain gibberish, or other deep level security passwords types that appear to be a nuclear launch code.
It was once considered that a single simple password was nothing more than a regrettable mistake, and one that allowed ID thieves to easily make their way into our account. The next generation of tightly secured passwords required us to combine two or three password types (alpha, numeric, special character) into one. Savvy cyber-thieves figured that one out quickly, and used the computer against us; by writing software programs that can easily decipher simple word, number and special character combinations through brute force guessing.
Because simplified passwords or password combinations are so ineffective, IT managers now generally order all employees to continually reset the unique password on every account the coworker has access to.
In an effort to overcome password overload, software developers created the password manager. The program required nothing more than a single password to obtain access to all of the other unique passwords. Although it has its own issues, at times it can provide strict cyber security safeguarding of a long list of uniquely created passwords.
For the company interested in using a password manager, it only seems to work well if it is cross-platform, or can manage passwords on a smart phone along with a PC. It also needs to provide encryption of every password and offer an initial authentication process that is strong and powerful. It needs to be able to sync the updated list of passwords in the database every time a new or reset password is added to an account.
There are several other ways to get around the massive number of passwords users must remember. One is Single Sign-On (SSO) where one secure password gains access to an array of services.
On the security front, there is two-factor authentication (2FA) where a credential on top of the password is needed. One form of credential can come from biometrics systems, such as scanning the iris of the eye or fingerprint.
Active authentication is driving the next generation of biometrics. Through behavioural metrics, this active authentication can accurately identify each individual user based on their specific habits when using a computer. Here you can identify a person by the way that talk, choose words, use a mouse, or the speed of their fingertips on the keyboard these are all specific sensors that can be used to track unique patterns to that individual.
It remains to be seen if companies and organizations will take the time, effort, and money required to ramp up their security levels for authentication. In the end, the response will determine if they are able to maintain their privacy and safeguard their confidential information. It is obvious that any company that simply does not take the correct steps will be placing their organization at great risk of being struck by cyber-thieves.
AuthAnvil to the Rescue
Fortunately there is an answer to your password security woes. AuthAnvil from Kaseya, provides two- and multi-factor authentication – as well as the ability to encrypt all user passwords and the data as it is transmitted.
There are two other layers of authentication protection. AuthAnvil includes single sign-on (SSO) which makes it easier for end users to log-on securely to multiple services. And password management enforces key issues such as strong passwords, frequently changed passwords, and decommissioning a password when an employee leaves.