Data breaches are on the rise and they can be both unexpected and costly. The average estimated cost of a data breach has peaked at an all-time high—an astounding $4.35 million, according to a 2022 report by IBM and the Ponemon Institute.
Poor password hygiene and legacy software are two key culprits that will increase your chances of falling victim to a password breach. Keep reading to learn more about how to check if a password is breached and five ways to prevent a password breach from occurring.
How to Check if a Password is Breached
The most straightforward way to determine whether or not your password has been breached is by using a dark web monitoring tool such as BreachWatch®. BreachWatch immediately notifies you if your credentials have made their way onto the dark web so that you can update your credentials before a bad actor has the opportunity to take advantage of your compromised details.
You can also scan your email, for free, to see if any of your passwords have been stolen in a data breach using our free BreachWatch scan.
If you find that your credentials are compromised, take action immediately.
Five Ways to Prevent a Data Breach
It is important to take preventative action to ensure that your cybersecurity posture is strong enough to keep away cybercriminals seeking vulnerabilities. Use these five tips below to prevent a password breach from occurring in the future.
1. Eliminate Weak Passwords
Stop using the same password you have been using for everything. Instead, use a password generator to create unique passwords for each account to help prevent compromised credentials. If your password simply uses short dictionary words, cyber attackers can easily crack these weak passwords through a brute force attack.
Password generators create strong passwords by formulating a string of random characters, making it nearly impossible for cybercriminals to guess. In addition to generating robust passwords, it is essential to practice password hygiene to ensure that you are taking additional steps to protect your passwords from unauthorized users.
2. Use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA/2FA)
Many cloud solutions offer Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), which can prevent 99.9% of password-related cyber attacks on your accounts, according to Microsoft. While Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) requires a second authentication method, MFA requires users to present two or more types of authentication, which can strengthen your security and further prevent cybercriminals from infiltrating your account.
Once you log into an online account, MFA can protect you and your account since it requires users to provide an additional authentication factor, such as:
- Answering a personal security question
- Submitting a 6-digit code retrieved by mobile
- Scanning your face or fingerprint
Even if a cybercriminal manages to gain access to your login credentials, MFA makes it exponentially more difficult for unauthorized users to fully access your account, since they cannot pass the second authentication method.
3. Delete Inactive Accounts
Since a cybercriminal could use inactive user accounts, keeping an account alive but inactive is a crucial security risk. If a cybercriminal gains access to one of your inactive accounts, the bad actor may be able to access your private information.
To make matters worse, if you are guilty of password reuse, a compromised email address and password pairing give cybercriminals access to any account using the same login credentials. Suppose you find that you are no longer using a specific online account. In that case, you are encouraged to delete it to prevent unauthorized users from potentially gaining access to personal or financial information.
4. Update Software
Outdated software is a massive security vulnerability as it can be filled with bugs that put you at risk if they aren’t resolved. Updating software to the latest version is crucial since updates can prevent security issues, while improving compatibility and program features.
Legacy software can be riddled with software vulnerabilities, opening up opportunities for cybercriminals to take advantage. Outdated software is also more exposed to viruses. Not only do viruses impact the infected device, but they can also be passed to your colleagues’ devices.
Updated software allows you to stay up to date with the latest fixes and improvements. These updates were made for a reason, as they offer improved security and a better end-user experience.
5. Stay Updated on the Latest in Cybersecurity
Staying up-to-date on the latest cybersecurity news can prevent you from becoming a victim by understanding modern cyber attack strategies. Reading this information allows you to learn from the mistakes of other data breach victims and help prevent a breach from happening to you.
How Keeper Strengthens Your Cybersecurity Posture
Keeper Security provides cybersecurity solutions to protect your passwords from cybercriminals and prevent password-related data breaches. Built with a zero-trust, zero-knowledge security architecture with 256-bit AES encryption, our password management tool offers several additional features to strengthen your security posture – ensuring that your passwords are protected. And with our dark web monitoring tool BreachWatch, you‘ll always be notified if your passwords have been compromised.
Register today for a free 30-day trial to see how our cybersecurity solutions can protect you from cyber threats.