New Year, New Password

A New Year is a chance to refresh and reset. 2020 saw a huge rise in security scams via all methods. This includes email, telephone, SMS and on social media. Make sure you add security to your resolutions list and start by updating your old passwords.

How do I check if my password has been compromised?

Specific sites:

There are sites that can tell you if your password has been exposed in data breaches. allows you to type in your passwords. Alternatively, Avast has a hack check where you can enter your email to check accounts. Click here to start checking.

Web browsers:

When using a web browser, such as Microsoft Edge, you may use a Microsoft account to store passwords whilst browsing. Within this account, you can access your security settings. You will then have access to view and update compromised credentials.

On devices:

Your mobile can detect compromised passwords. For example, if you store your passwords in keychain on an iPhone, go into Settings > Passwords > Security Recommendations. This will then list each account that has a security risk marked. This could be password duplication across multiple accounts or a potential leak of your password.

Should I use the same password twice?

Ideally, no. We understand this can be difficult. But if attackers get hold of your credentials, they will reuse them by automating other login attempts using known pairs. That’s where password managers come in. A password manager is a site or app which stores your passwords in one place. You can use them both personally and professionally. There are also plenty of free versions available.

To learn more about password managers, read here.

How do I set a strong password?

1. Don’t be silly
We all know that using ‘password’ or ‘123456’ is going to put you at the highest possible risk. So is using publicly shared information. This could include birthday, a pet’s name, favourite football team and more.

2. Make it long
Many sites will ask for a minimum number of characters, but this should not be a target. The longer the password the better.

3. Mix it up
Use a mixture of characters including letters, numbers, symbols and upper and lowercase. But don’t think changing ‘password’ to ‘Pa55word!’ is enough. Common substitutions are just as easily guessed. The National Cyber Security Centre also advises to use three random words for each password.

4. Don’t use memorable keyboard paths
When you look at your keyboard, don’t just type a series of letters that follow one another. For example: qwerty.

Don’t forget about multi-factor authentication (MFA)!

What’s the best way to strengthen your accounts? Add multi-factor authentication! MFA is simple to install and use. You can download our guides to MFA below:

Multi-Factor Authentication Guide

MFA on Social Media

Discover how Breakwater can help your business. Call our team today on +44 (0)1603 709300 or email

Wesley Phillpot

Systems Engineer

I am part of our first line of support for clients – the Service Desk. As a Systems Engineer, I respond to incoming enquiries, resolving any issues and providing guidance to businesses.

View my profile >

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