Password security ‘the first line of resistance’ against security breaches

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In today’s digitalised world where reliance on digital platforms is at an all-time high, the risk of cyber-attacks and data breaches has never been greater. With hackers becoming increasingly sophisticated and relentless in their attacks while developing new tools and techniques for malicious intent purposes, employees and businesses alike are compelled to take every adequate measure to protect themselves.

Given the nature of this challenging high-risk environment, Kingston Technology Europe Co LLP, an affiliate of Kinston Technology Company, Inc., a world leader in memory products and technology solutions, has cast a spotlight on one of the key lines of defense against system breaches: password security.

“Password security is of the utmost importance to people, enterprises, and industries, especially in light of unprecedented digital transformation, which has inadvertently presented hackers with new opportunities and loopholes to infiltrate systems,” explained Antoine Harb, Team Leader, Middle East, Kingston Technology. “Secure passwords are a crucial element to combating threats and, as the first line of resistance in safeguarding digital assets, they can ensure personal, organisational, and financial systems and information are not compromised or exploited, thereby providing invaluable protection.”

With the rising number of online accounts and services such as personal banking applications, pension funds, and healthcare information, Kingston Technology stresses that protecting personal information and organisational assets from malicious actors is essential, a view substantiated by various statistics.

In 2022, global cyber-attacks increased by 38% compared to 2021 and a report by Cybercrime Analytics (C2A) provider SpyCloud found that hackers leaked over 721 million passwords during the same period. The 2023 Thales Data Threat Report also highlighted an increase in ransomware attacks and increased risks to sensitive cloud-based data. A survey of nearly 3000 IT and security professionals in 18 countries found that 48% have reported a rise in ransomware attacks and 37% have experienced a data breach in the past 12 months.

While Kingston Technology acknowledges that hackers have found success in exploiting passwords via techniques including keylogging and brute-force, dictionary, and rainbow table attacks, the company has pointed out the significant impact that data is having on repelling such exploitation and ushering in a vibrant new era in stringent password security.

“By analysing large datasets of passwords, security experts are identifying common patterns, weaknesses, and flaws in passwords that can be exploited by hackers. Such analysis is subsequently empowering companies to develop better algorithms and methods for creating strong passwords that are less likely to be guessed or cracked,” continued Harb. “Data-driven analytics are enabling companies to detect suspicious login attempts and proactively alert users to potential threats, while data-driven authentication methods, such as two-factor authentication, have made it much harder for hackers to gain access to user accounts, even with correct passwords.”

Now data has become even more valuable in cyber-attack prevention, Kingston Technology highlights that its own hardware-based encrypted USB drives feature data-protection solutions for mobile data both inside and outside of an organisation’s firewall. They are simple, easy-to-use solutions designed to protect data that requires various levels of security. Proven to help individuals and companies repel password-related infringements, multi-password is a prime data recovery option, allowing admins to reset user passwords and create a one-time recovery password to restore user’s access to data. With hardware-based encryption, data is ultimately password protected and available at anytime, anywhere, and without the risk of being compromised – including while logging in via public networks.

“By having strong, secure passwords with support from the latest innovations, you can help ensure that your data is kept safe and secure,” added Harb. “Strong passwords make it more difficult for hackers to access accounts, reducing the likelihood of identity theft, financial loss, and other malicious activities. It is essential to keep your devices secure with a lock screen or two-factor authentication and it is equally important to note that encrypting data stored on devices can also provide an extra layer of security, as can passphrases.”

Superior to the traditional ‘complex’ password because of a powerful combination of benefits, passphrases are easy to remember and extremely difficult for people or computers to establish. Recommended by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for advanced security, they provide a better, more prudent way for people to securely store their data and information within modern devices and systems. Because passphrases get their advanced security from length rather than character complexity, they can be far easier for people to remember than a sequence of numbers, letters and, symbols, while added length also comes with added complexity for cybercriminals.

Kingston Technology provides passphrase capability across many devices in its IronKey hardware-encrypted flash storage line-up, including the IronKey Keypad 200 (which uses an alphanumeric keypad on the device itself), the IronKey Locker+ 50 and Vault Privacy 50 series USB drives, as well as the Vault Privacy 80 external SSD. For more information, please visit https://www.kingston.com/ironkey

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