World Password Day 2nd May

The use of passwords allows us to prove our identity to gain access into our personal accounts such as emails, websites and devices. Nearly everything we do online or with a device requires a password to gain access to it. This can be the easiest way to protect information which is confidential to that person or an organisation.

So why aren’t we being smarter when it comes to our passwords? The list below by Splashdata shows the worst passwords we can be using for our accounts with “123456” coming out on top this was used by 23.2 million users worldwide last year. By using passwords such as the ones listed below the risk of your accounts becoming comprised is greatly increased. These will be the go to passwords which cyber criminals will check first to try and gain access to your accounts.

                                                                                        (Source:Splashdata 2018)

So why as a society aren’t we doing more to protect ourselves from these types of threats occurring. A report by NCSC found that people’s most regular concern is money being stolen with 42% feeling it is likely to happen to them by 2021. The report also highlights that many of the basic practices which we can do ourselves to help eliminate the threat of our accounts being comprised aren’t being followed.

  • Only 49% of people locked their computer screens when left unattended with 23% of people never doing this.
  • Only 15% say they know a great deal about how to protect themselves from harmful activity
  • Only 55% use a strong and separate password for their main email account.
  • 70% use password/ passcode/PIN to unlock smartphones or tablets with 11% not doing this at all
  • Only 14% save passwords using a password manager on smartphone or tablet with an alarming 53% of people not doing this at all.

The report also highlights that people are more aware than ever of the dangers of cyber crime with 70% believing they will likely be a victim of at least one specific type of cybercrime over the next two years, and most feel there would be a big personal impact” So why aren’t we following the basic principles to try and prevent this?

Here’s some tips on how you can help strengthen your passwords to help protect your accounts.
  • Never reuse the same password on multiple accounts. Change it each time.
  • Ensure your passwords contain at least 8 characters and have at least one lower and uppercase letter, number and symbol.
  • Wherever you can, use a password (This gives you your first layer of protection)
  • Make the password as random as possible, something people wouldn’t associate with you
  • Use a common phase such as “Barking Up the Wrong Tree” and use the first letter of each word BUTWT to create a random word.
  • Never use your personal details to create passwords
  • Keep passwords to yourself, trust no one
  • Beware of people around you. Is anyone watching you input your password?
  • Always log out of your accounts when you leave them left unattended
  • Do you trust your internet/WiFi connection? Are you in a public place (WiFi hotspots) Don’t sign in to your accounts if you don’t trust or know the connection is reliable
  • If the information is highly sensitive, change passwords frequently (e.g. every 30 days)
  • Use a password manager to keep passwords safe. Also, you will be able to create complex password which won’t be compromised easily, and you won’t need to remember them as they will be safely stored here. (Some of the best apps we would recommend are Lastpass, Dashlane, 1Password)
Two-Factor Authentication

All the tips above are all things you can do personally to ensure you are protecting yourself from the threat of cyber criminals. But probably the best way to protect your account is through Two-Factor Authentication this adds an extra layer of security to your online accounts and makes them much harder to hack. There are several ways this can be done.

Fingerprint ID – With fingerprint scanning available on most smartphones and many laptops, adding a fingerprint ID requirement to your logins is powerfully convenient protection.

Single-Use Code (Sent to phone, or delivered via app) – These single use codes are either sent to your phone or generated by an app on your phone — which generally — only you have access to.

USB Token- The key is in your pocket. Add a USB Key to your logins to get powerful, high-end protection. Services and apps like Google, Facebook, Dropbox, and more all support USB keys.

World Password Day might not be as exciting as the upcoming bank holiday, but it is perhaps just as important. It provides us all with a reminder of the importance of choosing secure passwords, and of keeping ourselves safe online. So, use the 2nd May to take a moment to review your cyber security measures. Trust us, in the long run it will pay off.

If you need information or assistance with looking after your IT, click here to contact us on how we can help you today!

Sources:

www.pulse.ng/ | www.cyberaware.gov.uk/passwords | www.getsafeonline.org/protecting-yourself/passwords/|UK Cyber Survey Key findings (Ipsos 2019)