We use them all over the internet, each one should be unique in its complexity, but all too often we don’t give them enough thought – we’re talking, of course, about passwords. Every year on the first Thursday in May, World Password Day raises awareness of the importance of using secure passwords. After all, they are the last line of defence against unauthorised access to confidential data and personal accounts. For this year’s World Password Day, we would like to share five tips for protecting your data.
Really keen to try out a new online game, but not sure whether the provider is trustworthy? Then register with a temporary email address. Providers like temp-mail.org allow you to set up anonymous single-use addresses quickly and without registering. Alternatively, you can also use several email addresses, using one solely for sensitive business such as online banking or as a reference for recovering your password.
As part of an annual survey, password manager NordPass published the 200 most common passwords used worldwide in 2021 and demonstrated how easy it is to hack them:
- 123456: an estimated 103,170,552 users; hacked in less than a second
- 123456789: an estimated 46,027,530 users; hacked in less than a second
- 12345: an estimated 32,955,431 users; hacked in less than a second
This lack of creativity is an open invitation to hackers. But what constitutes a secure password? Here’s an example:
- Make up a password sentence, like: “I’ve had enough of the bad weather & want to go on holiday to Italy again!”
- Then shorten the sentence by taking just the first letters of each word, and there you have it, a safe password: Iheotbw&wtgohtIa!
This password is long, contains special characters and a mix of upper and lower case letters. It’s also almost impossible to guess.
In addition, there are also applications where you can log in using biometric features – i.e. fingerprint or facial recognition – instead of a password.
Even if setting up different passwords for all your logins and changing these from time to time is tedious – it’s well worth the effort. Otherwise hackers will have no trouble cracking all your passwords as soon as they have found out one. You should also ensure that old and new passwords are not too similar – i.e. “Mypassword1” and “Mypassword2” are best avoided. And you should change your password at least once a year.
This virtual vault is a database where you can save login details and passwords for different websites in encrypted form. This means that nobody can read your passwords without the corresponding general password. Of course it is extremely important that you create a very secure master password – but this means you need only remember one. Good examples of these password vaults are: KeePass, 1Password and Keeper Security. And interesting for all Microsoft users: the Microsoft Authenticator app also has a password manager as an additional function. In addition, such password manager solutions offer another advantage in that they allow you to work with generated passwords. This means that the password manager creates a secure password for you and ensures that you only use each password once.
A unique and complex password is a good first step, but you can ensure even more security by setting up a two-stage verification. In addition to entering the username and the password, you will be asked for further proof that you are actually the owner of the relevant account. This authentication often takes places in the form of an additional security code sent via a text message or via an app.