Your website is the digital face of your brand — and in many cases, it also operates as an additional storefront. The last thing you need is for hackers to gain access to your website because you used a weak password for your web editor login.
Unfortunately, many businesses leave themselves vulnerable by using weak passwords. Setting an easy-to-remember password like your spouse’s name or your birthdate may make it easier for you to edit your site, but it can also make it that much easier for someone to figure out your password so they can sabotage your site or steal important information.
The Consequences of Weak Passwords
It seems that corporate data breaches are always in the news — and quite often, poor password policies are to blame. Hackers use highly sophisticated programs that allow them to input common passwords or run through publicly available information to try to guess your password.
Birthdates, home addresses, and other generic personal information are not secure password options because they tend to be readily available online. When these weak passwords are used, hackers have access to everything contained behind your login.
Depending on the type of site you run, this could allow hackers to alter the content of your website so that it downloads malware to visitors’ devices. They could change payment processing information so that money from online purchases goes to their account, not yours. They may be able to steal customer information from your site, which could greatly harm your reputation and even leave you open to lawsuits. Your site could even be “held hostage” as part of a ransomware scheme.
The consequences can become even worse if you use the same password for your personal account. Hackers could then take that information to access banking and utility accounts, completely destroying your personal finances.
Strengthening Your Passwords
So how do you strengthen your passwords to keep your business and personal data safe? Naturally, you should start by avoiding the previously-mentioned mistakes. You can strengthen your passwords by writing long-form passwords that mix uppercase and lowercase letters, special characters like “!” or “@“, and numbers.
The longer and more complex your password, the less likely you are to get hacked. Some even recommend using a short sentence as your password, rather than a single word.
Additional Security Practices
Coming up with a strong password is a great start to keeping your web content safe. But simple mistakes can compromise even the best passwords. You shouldn’t write down your passwords. A disgruntled employee could go through your desk to find this information in your paperwork, or a hacker could find the password in your trash. Instead, use a digitally-encrypted password manager.
You should also avoid using your passwords on a public wi-fi network or on someone else’s device, as a lack of encryption could cause your password to be captured by a hacker.
When you combine strong passwords with smarter web security practices, you will keep your web content and other important accounts safe, which is more important than ever in today’s digital society.