World Password Day was started in May 2013 to commemorate the birth of the world’s first computer password in 1961. Since then, World Password Day has become a rallying cry each year for security professionals to educate and encourage the public to adopt stronger and more secure passwords for their accounts and data.
The importance of password security can’t be overstated. A weak or easily guessed password can leave your accounts vulnerable to hackers. And if they manage to gain access to your email account, hackers will have everything they need to reset your passwords on other web and social media sites.
Identity theft is a serious crime that can cost thousands of dollars and many hours on the phone to fix the damage. An effective password is the first line of defense against security threats and can help ensure your identity is protected.
Considering how important they are, let’s look at how we can make our passwords stronger and more secure!
Check if your emails or passwords have been stolen.
When you register your email addresses for online identity monitoring, the first thing we do is look back over the past 10 years to see if any of your addresses and passwords have been compromised in a data breach. If they’ve been exposed in the past, or we find them in the future, we’ll alert you so you can take action and protect your accounts with new, secure passwords.
Never reuse passwords.
It’s tempting to use the same password for all your online accounts because it’s easy. But easy for you means it’s also easy for hackers to steal even more from you if your logins are stolen. Hackers use programs to enter email addresses and passwords stolen from one website into others, hoping to gain access to your accounts on those sites. Using the same password leaves you and your information vulnerable to identity theft and financial fraud.
Use long and complex passwords.
Complex passwords – using combinations of letters, numbers, and symbols that aren’t easy to guess – at least 8 characters long are recommended because they’re hard for criminals to crack. Or you can use a passphrase comprised of 3 or 4 random words and symbols that make sense to you but will be hard for criminals to guess. The only problem is that because they’re complex, they can be difficult to remember. But…
It's okay to write down your passwords. Really!
The human brain certainly isn’t perfect when it comes to remembering dozens of complicated passwords. And password managers aren’t necessary for everyone – particularly if you don’t access your accounts outside the home. So write down your passwords in a notebook or paper if that’s the best system for you. Just make sure to keep them in a safe place – and don’t carry them around with you so they can be lost or stolen!
As more of our daily life is conducted online, good password habits are more important than ever. Security breaches and phishing attempts are on the rise resulting in more identity theft being reported every year. But by taking simple steps to strengthen and protect our passwords, we can make it less likely that we will become victims.