Research shows that the average person has nineteen passwords to remember…and most people use the same password, or slight variations thereof, for all their accounts.
Today, 5 May, is World Password Day. Most of us would think of “passwords” as the characters we enter after the username field, but the use of passwords date back many years. Previously used in secret societies and espionage to confirm the message as true or to gain access, it now protects our digital lives and very personal information such as banking and medical records, our emails, social media accounts, and much more. Should your password(s) get into the wrong hands, the loss and damages could be great as well as the treat of identity theft.
You are welcome to contact us should you forget your email password and we will gladly reset it for you. According to law we are not allowed to keep record of our clients’ password.
How to protect your passwords
1. Create strong passwords
Often we use our names, names of loved ones or pets. Any information that is easy to guess when somebody have some basic information about you, or information that can be sourced from your social media accounts, are dangerous options.
Choose a password consisting of at least eight characters and use a combination of uppercase, lowercase, numerals and special characters, e.g. JamesBond@007.
An alternative to try is using a passphrase. This is a short saying that you will remember and modifying, e.g. Gr8 M0vi @9 2nite.
Also consider the account’s password terms, such as frequency when these need to be updated, specified length or perhaps certain characters that cannot be used.
2. Use a different password for each account
If a malicious person breaks the password you recycle between all of your accounts, you will be seriously compromised. If you use a different password per account, at least not all of your information would be in danger.
3. Use a password manager
Download a password manager app to your phone. Several good options are available for free. A good password manager will safely store all your passwords, remember them and can even generate strong passwords for you.
Should you be so unlucky and somebody gets hold of your master password, a quality app will only allow access from registered devices. Access will be blocked and additional security steps will need to be taken to regain access to the password manager account. Additional security measures could include fingerprint and face recognition options.
4. Turn on multi-factor authentication
Multi-factor authentication is like adding an extra lock to your front door. Adding this additional layer of security to your passwords can significantly decrease your vulnerability.
An example would be Google’s two-step verification process. If you activated this option you will be asked to enter a verification code that is SMS-ed to when your login from a new device. Enter the correct code and your login details and access is gained.
Take this day to consider your password security. If you need to tighten those reigns, do not delay and take the few minutes needed to make sure you safe in the digital space.
On a side note: The South African Bank Risk Information Centre (SABRIC) recently launched their “Skelm Campaign” to inform users how to protect themselves against banking fraud. Mobile banking fraud is on the rise and users are encouraged to be more vigilant.