Do your passwords keep the internet safe?
Learning to navigate online has certainly been a big turning point for many of us in the last weeks of our training. Whether it’s working from home, helping our kids learn at home, spending time with wine at home or even taking Zumba classes at home, it’s more important than ever that we do it safely. And one of the most powerful, but also easiest ways to ensure our online security is by using our passwords.
World Password Day – Take a minute to view your approach.
Today’s World Password Day is a great opportunity to ensure that we do our best to manage our online connections. It’s frustrating to think that one of the easiest ways for cybercriminals to access the confidential information we store in our online accounts is through our passwords.
Passwords are the key to our digital identity. Not only do they enable us to bank, shop, work, learn, socialize and communicate online, they also protect us. Strong and complex passwords protect all the information we store on the Internet (also known as our digital assets), which is essential for our privacy and financial and personal security.
So let’s take advantage of this annual event to make sure we do our best to block our precious online data by properly managing our passwords.
Same password for each account? – Beginner’s error
If I had to count all my online accounts on my fingers and toes, I would soon run out of body parts! Because you have to remember so many signups, many of us end up using the same password for each account. And although that seems so convenient, in reality it makes us very vulnerable. Just think of this scenario: If you are a victim of online fraud and the password for one of your online accounts is stolen, a hacker may use the same password to access all of your online accounts.
Before you know it, the cybercriminal will have access to your email, bank accounts, online store accounts that may contain credit cards, personal photos and video files.
What you can do to make sure your password skills protect you.
Yeah, we’re all human, which means we take the shortest path. I’ve got it! I’ve got it! I like abbreviations – I like to use the pasta sauce from a jar! But if there is one area where no abbreviations may be used, it is the area of the passwords. So here are my best suggestions on how to prevent your personal information from falling into the wrong hands online and blocking your way to cybercriminals at the first point of entry.
- Make sure you do NOT use shared passwords
If your password is 123456, you must change it now. The National Cyber Security Centre in the United Kingdom showed in a study last year that it is the most commonly used password. In fact, in the eight years I’ve been doing this work, that password has surpassed research every year.
Passwords are the gateway to our digital life. To prevent the wrong people from accessing your accounts, make sure you create strong and unique passwords. This means that numbers, upper and lower case letters and characters must be included. The harder the password, the harder it is to decipher. Why not create a meaningless phrase or expression? And always avoid using simple personal information in your password. Your date of birth, middle name or pet’s name are things that abusers can track through your social network accounts.
- Same password for each account? Think carefully
The idea of having a unique password for all online accounts is attractive, because let’s be honest… we are all excluded from our accounts after forgetting the password! It may seem easy to have the same password for all accounts, but it increases the risk of compromising your important online data in multiple accounts at the same time. Therefore, make sure your credentials are unique for each account to avoid vulnerabilities in all your accounts in case of hacking.
- ALWAYS select multi-factor authentication
If possible, use multi-factor authentication (AMF) for online accounts. The FOC is a security system that requires more than one method of identification before an account can be opened. Usually it’s a security code sent to your smartphone, security questions or even a fingerprint on the password. An additional level of protection to prevent fraudulent access to important data online? Yes, please!
- Enter your passwords in Health Check
What better way to check the health of your passwords than to make sure they have been compromised in the event of a data security breach. The site www.haveibeenpwned.com.au is an effective way to check whether an intruder has found your passwords. If so, update and change your passwords wherever they are used to protect your data.
- Definition of a password manager
If you currently feel a little overwhelmed by the idea of creating and managing unique passwords for your various accounts on the Internet, don’t worry – I have a solution: a password manager. This great program creates random and complex passwords for each of your accounts and stores them securely, which means you don’t need them! Just remember the master password! When you choose a password manager, make sure it uses multi-factor authentication for identification, such as facial recognition, fingerprints, and a password.
If you have 30 minutes today, please take the time to give your password to the review habit. I know we all juggle very badly now and we have children, but a neglected approach to password protection is no different from a neglected approach to homeland security. So work on your passwords so you can stay alive online – especially on Friday nights, virtual drinks!
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