World Password Day: Top tips to help keep your online accounts secure

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You probably had no idea but today is World Password Day.

Celebrated on the first Thursday in May, World Password Day is an initiative to help promote better password and online security habits among internet users around the world.

For most people, their password remains the only line of defence between their personal data and hackers, so the importance of using a strong password goes without saying.

If you are one of those people that creates a password using things the like name of your dog, your favourite football team or other easily obtainable information then you need to step your game up right now.

And if you use the same password across multiple online accounts because it makes life a bit easier you should probably never be allowed near a computer again – for your own good!

Despite repeated warnings, high profile cyber attacks that have occurred from people using poorly constructed passwords, generally just suck when it comes to password security.

In order to help secure your online accounts here are some simple tips to creating a secure password.

It’s actually a passphrase you need

Basically everything your have ever been told about creating a password is wrong and that’s according to the guy who wrote the rule book on creating passwords.

Bill Burr who wrote a guide to creating passwords in 2003 while at the National Institute of Standards and Technology has said that if you follow the guide today you are likely to be vulnerable to hacking.

Rather than trying to create a password which includes a mixture of upper and lower case letters, number and symbols, which together you are unlikely to remember, you instead need to create a passphrase that is long but easy to remember. An example of a passphrase could be: BigOrangeBouncingBall19$

Never re-use the same password

If you use the same password on all of your online accounts just stop right now. Using the same password makes your online accounts really vulnerable because one compromised password can potentially give access to all your other accounts.

This is really important to consider when using online banking or other accounts which contain your payment info. Get out of the bad lazy habit of reusing passwords.

Use a password manager

The best way to organise your passwords and avoid using the same password across your online accounts is to use a password manager. While they aren’t 100% fail safe, they are better option for keeping your passwords secure.

Services like LastPass or 1Password can help you use multiple passwords and use encryption for added security.

Passwords managers normally require you to create one master password alongside an additional layer of security that lets you access all your other saved passwords.

Enable two-factor authentication

Two factor or two step authentication adds an aditional layer of security to your online account. Increasingly more online services such as Facebook and Gmail to name a few have added two factor authentication, which can come in a variety of forms.

You may be required to enter a pin code which is sent to you via SMS or you may be asked a security question. Either way, it helps to make your account more secure and you should be using it if it is available.

Kill the password altogether

There is an argument to say that it is high time we killed off the password altogether. Biometric technology such as fingerprint, retina and facial recognition is becoming increasingly more common.

If you have a biometric security option on your device you should use. It is much more difficult for a hacker to compromise a fingerprint or retina scan than it is to steal your password.

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