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Kick start 2017 by changing your password

Posted on Monday, January 23rd, 2017 in Information Security

You can’t start a new year without a new year’s resolution, but this year make passwords part of yours.
One of the simplest and most important actions you can take to protect yourself online is to have a strong password.
Despite this, only 35% of people follow the government’s latest advice on passwords. For something that holds so much importance, why is it that so many make the mistake of making them so easy?

Hacks prove that most passwords are rubbish!

Over the past year, major hacks to websites have exposed the details of millions with a common thread occurring through each and every one of them; most people’s passwords are easy to crack and make some simple mistakes.
Following the hack on Linkedin’s database in 2012 announced last year, it was discovered that the most common passwords on the site were:

  • 123456
  • linkedin
  • Password
  • 123456789
  • 12345678
  • All five passwords demonstrate a lack of care and thought which will inevitably leave you exposed to hackers. This is especially important on a website like Linkedin, as not only is personal data stored there, your entire employment history, including minute details, and on occasions, your CV is stored on the website.

    Vice discovered in an investigation that their analysts had decrypted 90% of the passwords from the Linkedin breach within 72 hours. With this in mind, it’s vitally important that everyone is aware that their passwords need to be secure especially since 3 out of 4 of us duplicate passwords.  If one password is compromised, you are leaving an open goal to your accounts on other websites.

    Why do so many people have lazy passwords?

    You can understand why people have passwords that are simple. With the amount of accounts people possess, remembering passwords for each one is hard as we don’t recommend writing them down.

    Education in information security is key to people understanding the importance of safeguarding information and with passwords forming the backbone of any secure network, it’s important to lock down password knowledge before anything else otherwise it’s impossible to mitigate against human error.

    People don't follow the government's advice on passwords.

    Be twice as protected

    You can never be overly cautious when it comes to sensitive information which is why two-factor authentication exists!

    Two-factor authentication is an extra layer of security on top of your password which mitigates against the possibility that someone has your password. It works as a barrier to your account by adding a further layer of security which can only be accessed if you possess the device which contains the access code.

    However, there are a few tips that you can follow to make sure you create effective passwords.

    Bob’s Password Tips

  • Keep your passwords private by not writing them down
  • Use memory games or meaningful phrases to construct strong, memorable passwords
  • Use a combination of letter, numbers and special characters where possible
  • Use three or more random dictionary words. E.g. Icecupboardxylophone
  • Never write down your passwords
  • Never share your passwords anywhere

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