Passwords are one of the earliest online security tools implemented during the creation of the digital world. As software and the internet have evolved, passwords have also become a weakness exploited by hackers. World Password Day, the first Thursday in May, was first celebrated in 2013 and is an annual reminder to focus on your personal online security and protecting your digital identity. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people navigating new remote working procedures have become susceptible to increased opportunities for cybersecurity attacks. These are some of the vulnerabilities to address during your annual online security audit.
We frequently change passwords for email and website logins but, WiFi passwords are often never changed after the original setup. As an essential part of protecting your network and connected devices, experts suggest changing your WiFi password every three months. Set a calendar reminder to reset all of your passwords every 90 days. This is an easy way to ensure you are protecting your private data.
We know that changing all passwords is critical. However, many of us reuse weak or recycled passwords rather than create unique ones. Reusing the same, or a variation of the same, password for multiple accounts is something we know is wrong. In the LastPass third Psychology of Passwords Report, 91% of people globally say they know this, yet 66% of respondents say they always or mostly use the same password.
Our passwords are sometimes predictable and contain personal information easily found by malicious actors on social media accounts. A quick internet search can give a hacker enough information regarding locations, dates, or life events used in password creation.
There is also a tendency to ignore online data breaches. According to LastPass, 58% of survey respondents had not changed their password in the last 12 months despite hearing about a data breach. We frequently underestimate our risk and do not view our accounts as valuable enough to be hacked. While your credit card number may only be worth a few dollars to a hacker, a breach of thousands of online accounts adds up quickly.
Despite the apparent cognitive dissonance we have when creating passwords, we exercise some excellent online safety precautions. Using multifactor authentication and biometrics are easy ways to increase our online security. Password managers are excellent tools for password strength and uniqueness. These software programs create random and complex passwords for each of your online accounts and then store them securely. All you need to do is remember your password manager master password and ensure multifactor authentication is on. These extra layers of protection can keep hackers at bay and our digital identity safe.
For other cybersecurity tips, view our checklist here.