Securing your accounts with a strong password is an absolute necessity in today’s digital world. And World Password Day serves as the perfect day to improve your cybersecurity standards.
This day is celebrated annually on May 2nd and is supported by many of the largest tech and cybersecurity companies in the world.
With the number of reported data breaches affecting consumers accounts increasing each day, it’s important that we choose to be proactive now before it’s too late.
However, the vast majority of us neglect to change our passwords regularly or reuse them for multiple sites.
These are bad practices which can leave your personal information vulnerable to an attack and eventually could put you at risk of falling victim to identity theft.
When it comes to identity theft, criminals will find any and all ways to access your information so they can eventually steal your identity and use it for ill-intentioned activities.
With the creation of password cracking software, their ability to hack into user’s accounts has become much easier over the years.
If you believe that you are a victim of identity theft, contact your local authorities and credit servicers immediately.
Passwords can be your first line of defense in the event of a cyber attack.
In the same way that you would want to keep important documents, valuables, and other personal items locked away in safe, similar precautions should be made for your digital data as well.
When it comes to passwords, don’t take the easy way out by opting for something easy.
Instead, take a few minutes more to create a strong and unique password for each of your accounts.
Doing this will lead you down a path of continued cyber safety.
This World Password Day, we encourage you to carefully reconsider your password choices and habits and follow along with the following tips to protect your personal data:
1. Only use a password once
Never repeat your password on another account.
Should you become a victim of a data breach, the criminal would then be able to access all of your accounts that use the same password.
This puts you at risk of being exposed and lets hackers dive deeper into all aspects of your life providing greater details for them to pull off an identity theft scheme.
2. Use a password manager that you can trust
When you’re using a different password for every account that you log in to, it can be difficult to keep track of them all.
Using a trustworthy password manager can assist you in remembering them all.
The program works by securely storing all of your login credentials and will ask you to verify the information when it’s time to sign in.
3. Make them as strong and as long as possible
You may think that this one is obvious, but you’d be surprised to learn how many people are still using “password” or “abc123” as their passwords.
A report from the password manager company LastPass revealed that 81% of breaches occur in businesses due to weak or stolen passwords.
These types of passwords which use little variety and few characters can be cracked in an estimated .29 milliseconds.
Experts suggest a password with at least 10 characters.
Though, it’s also important to make sure that you include a variety of special characters, numbers, and symbols in your password.
Using both uppercase and lowercase letters, symbols such as exclamation points, and avoiding the use of any full or personally relatable words can all add to the strength of a password.
4. Use 2-factor authentication
Many accounts have introduced additional security measures such as 2-factor authentication programs which ask you to verify your login attempt on another device.
You will either press verify on your other device or will be provided with a security code to enter on to the device you are attempting to sign in with.
5. Change your passwords frequently
Though a strong password can make it difficult for a hacker to get into your account, it’s not impossible – it just takes longer sometimes.
For this reason, it’s important to update your passwords on a frequent basis to keep up to date and cybercriminals out.
6. Use antivirus software
As previously mentioned, it’s unfortunately not impossible for a hacker to enter your account which is why it’s important to be prepared.
Should a virus, or attack try to come through on your devices, having antivirus software installed on your computer or smartphone can prevent, detect, and remove any potential malware.
Any activity that occurs on your accounts, you are essentially liable for.
If you shared your password with your best friend or significant other and the relationship ends badly, they may feel inclined to post defaming content on your account or find personal information to use against you.
You just never truly know, so always keep your passwords private. Additionally, when you get up and walk away from your computer, lock it.
Never leave it unattended where someone could look at private information.
8. Select hard to guess security questions
If a site detects that you may not be the one logging into your account, they will ask you to answer a few security questions.
When setting up these questions make sure that you choose the ones that you are certain only you will know the answer to.
World Password Day is a reminder to us, digital citizens, about the pitfalls of technology and how our beloved tech indulgences can be misused by cyber attackers.
So, do not wait any further. Go ahead and pick strong passwords for your accounts.