In our increasingly digital world, safeguarding our online accounts and personal data is crucial. One of the first lines of defense against cyber threats is password security.
Weak passwords can be cracked in mere seconds, leaving your sensitive information vulnerable. In this article, we’ll explore how to create strong passwords and protect yourself from data breaches.
Understanding Data Breaches
Before we delve into password strategies, let’s understand what a data breach is. A data breach occurs when cyber criminals gain unauthorised access to information stored by organisations.
These breaches expose personal details such as email addresses, birthdates, and even passwords. Once in possession of this data, criminals can launch phishing attacks, scam emails, and other malicious activities.
The Link Between Data Breaches and Passwords
When your information is compromised in a data breach, cybercriminals often attempt to crack your accounts using common passwords. Shockingly, about 70% of the most popular passwords can be cracked within seconds. Avoid using obvious choices like “123456” or “password.”
Creating Strong Passwords
One method you might want to adopt is the three random words approach (as recommended by the NCSC).
Simply pick three random things and combine them together to form a password that is long enough to stop cyber criminals from guessing. This form of password is more difficult to crack than if your password were just “password” and just as easy to remember.
Three Random Words
Combine three random words to create a robust password. For instance, think of unrelated terms like “AppleCakeTree.” This approach makes your password harder to crack while remaining memorable.
Embrace Password Managers
Consider using a password manager. These tools generate strong, unique passwords for each of your accounts and securely store them. You only need to remember one master password to access all your other credentials.
Alternatively, many browsers offer built-in password saving features, providing a quick way to store login credentials for easy access.
Avoid Common Passwords
Avoid easily guessable passwords derived from significant dates (like birthdays), favourite sports teams, or pet names. Cyber criminals can easily find these details on your social media profiles.
Changing characters (e.g., swapping ‘o’ with ‘0’) might seem clever, but cyber criminals are well aware of these tricks. While it adds complexity, it won’t significantly strengthen your password.
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Remember, your password is your digital lock. Invest time in creating strong, unique combinations to protect your online presence. Whether you choose random words or opt for a password manager, prioritise security over convenience. Stay cyber secure and keep your data out of harm’s way!