Every year, the first Thursday in May marks World Password Day. A campaign aimed at encouraging better password habits. But why is it so important to use a secure password?
Passwords are the gateway to your private information. This includes everything from bank details, healthcare records or sentimental files such as photos. Criminals use this information to blackmail and steal from you. Having a strong password is the first step to keeping them out.
What You Should Not Include:
Believe it or not, 6% of the UK admitted using ‘password’ as all or part of their password in a recent survey. This, along with ‘123456’ or keyboard patterns such as ‘qwerty’ should never be used. They’re easy to guess, far too commonly used and it would take hackers milliseconds to get into your accounts.
You should also avoid:
- Your business name
- Pet’s names
- Favourite sports teams
- Family member names
- Significant dates, e.g. birthdays
This is because these details could be cracked just by repeatedly plugging in common names and phrases.
Additionally, all of this information can often be gleaned from social media. You would never expect to be targeted. But if someone wanted to, how easy would it be for them to look at your social accounts and find out common information, such as your pet’s name.
What You Should Do:
- Use three random words
- Make it long
- Mix up characters such as letters, numbers, cases and symbols
- Use multi-factor authentication – it’s free!
- Consider a password manager – both free and paid versions available for individuals and businesses
A recent study by the National Cyber Security Centre found:
- In the last year, 27% of UK citizens added more than four new password-protected accounts – with 6% reporting to have added in excess of 10 new accounts in the last 12 months
- 15% of British people use their pet’s name as a password
- 14% of British people use a family name
- 13% of British people use a significant date
- 6% of British people use their favourite sports team
- 6% of the UK admitted using ‘password’ as all or part of their password
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