They’re strange, they’re complex, they’re everywhere, and we forget them far more than is absolutely healthy for us. No, we’re not talking about anniversaries (though sometimes we are! You’ll see what we mean later…). We’re talking about your passwords!
Today marks the ninth anniversary of World Password Day, an event created by Intel to raise awareness about the importance of strong passwords. For more than 60 years we have relied on passwords to secure our personal and professional accounts, and to act as the thin layer of protection between our digital identities and cyber criminals. That’s a lot of responsibility to put on a series of numbers and letters that are likely being reused across every digital interaction you touch!
World Password Day came along to provide a warning to the world, and to spread awareness that taking care of your passwords is vital to protecting yourself against identity theft. Data is very much the currency of the modern world. If malicious actors on the internet can get access to your account details, they can impersonate you, steal your data, and even take your money. Furthermore, they can often do all of this while effectively covering their tracks. Even if you wanted to go after them and get your money back, you couldn’t.
There’s a terrifying statistic about the current state of our password security. Business Insider did research to determine just how vulnerable accounts were, and discovered that 10,000 of the most common passwords allow access to 98% of all accounts. In other words, most people are using the same passwords – and many for years at a time!
Whilst you may be able to unlock your smartphone with your fingerprint and face these days, the concept of a password will remain relevant for a very long time, so it’s best to make sure you’ve created a good one – here are 10 tips from Wix, the web design people:
- Don’t share your password
- Don’t use personal information (that’s where those anniversaries come in, along with birthdays, pet names, kids names, etc – all the stuff you make readily available to a potential hacker on your lovely social media posts!)
- Don’t use the same password elsewhere (yes, that means a different password for every site)
- Don’t make your password “password” (you’d be surprised how many folks do….)
- Make it long enough for security, but short enough for memory
- Use CAPS, num3r5, & $pec|@l characters to mix things up a little
- Try “phrasing” your password e.g. take something like your favorite song lyrics or movie quote then take take the first two letters from each word and combine it into a password
- Do a password “refresh” every few months (we know, that sounds like an almighty pain…)
- Use two-step authentication when you can (just remember to have your phone at hand)
- Use password tools to relieve your memory like LastPass (Thank goodness for that tip, eh?)