May the 4th be with your security – but jokes aside, if the password to any of your online accounts is “starwars” I highly recommend you change it immediately.
Happy World Password Day! And there’s no better way to celebrate this virtual holiday than by giving you a pep talk on online security and how you can protect yourself.
What is World Password Day?
World Password Day comes around every year in order to spread awareness to the world that protecting your passwords is important in protecting yourself against identity theft, fraud and other mishaps that occur on the world wide web. Passwords have been used for as long as we can remember, from espionage missions to exclusive clubs and societies. But in the present technological era it has become vital to have digital protection to safekeep all of our personal information and data online.
Why do I need to be concerned about my passwords?
We currently live in a world where we store personal and sensitive data online, whether it be bank accounts, credit cards, medical records or family details. The list goes on. It makes sense that we wouldn’t want complete strangers to know these things about us. The evolution of technology and the internet has made it possible for everything to be, perhaps worryingly, accessible to us. But this has also made it possible for online hacks to become more frequent and our personal data to be compromised more often.
So how can I improve my online security?
There’s a multitude of things you can easily do to improve your security and I’ll be giving you some tips in order to do so.
- Use a combination of letters and symbols – Use a combination of letters, symbols and numbers in your password. Sometimes using symbols such as ‘@’ signs or hashtags (#) can significantly improve your online security and the strength of your passwords. By using a series of symbols and numbers, it makes it far more difficult for potential hackers and criminals to access your online accounts. And yes, using hashtags doesn’t just have to be for your Instagram (#OnlineSafety).
- Change your password frequently – This one may seem tedious and unnecessary but is also important. No matter how safe you think your password is, you can’t always count on nothing bad happening. Major corporations who store and use customer data (think eBay, Paypal, TalkTalk) are not always 100% safe from hacks and leaks. It’s no longer a super, secretive password if it gets leaked.
- Use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) – You might be wondering, “WTH is MFA?!”. Well, TBH it’s just another way of improving online security. Multi-factor authentication essentially adds an extra layer of protection to your online account. If you’ve ever used a fingerprint reader on your phone, you’ve used MFA. Or if you have a verification code texted to your phone to do internet banking, you’ve used MFA. Using MFA doubles the security and makes it all that much harder for your data to be stolen or hacked.
- Don’t use universal passwords or easy to guess ones – People will often use a universal password for all their accounts to make it easier to remember them. But imagine if you had one key to access your house, car, safe, bedroom or bank accounts and you suddenly lost or had that key stolen. Seems pretty scary. And don’t use easy passwords. This brings me back to my opening statement. Unsurprisingly there is a list published annually on the worst passwords people actually use. The ones that made the list this year are ‘starwars’, ‘solo’ and ‘princess’, but ‘password’ and ‘12345’ are equally as bad.
World Password Day
Now that you’re equipped with the right knowledge and mindset about improving your cybersecurity, take the pledge and celebrate World Password Day. Look at the World Password Day website. Change your passwords. Use MFA. Make your friends and family aware of the dangers. Use social media to spread the word (but not your password).