World Password Day

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The first Thursday in May is World Password Day.

Passwords are the critical gatekeepers to our digital identities. They allow us to access online shopping, dating, banking, social media, private work and life communications. World Password Day is intended to promote better password habits that help protect us and our data.

The idea of a “password day” was apparently first mentioned by security researcher Mark Burnett in his 2005 book “Perfect Passwords”, but the idea didn’t really catch on until Intel Security took the initiative to declare the first Thursday in May, World Password Day in 2013.

There is certainly no shortage of web sites and articles discussing the importance of strong passwords, including sites like PasswordDay.org where you can get important information on how to create and manage your passwords. They even invite you to take the World Password Day quiz, to help you know if you practice safe password habits.

Even though we have heard it numerous times, many people still do not practice safe password habits, as evidenced by this list of the top 10 most common passwords:

123456

Password

12345678

Qwerty

12345

123456789

Football

1234

1234567

baseball

Do any of these look familiar? If so, why not use World Password Day as your opportunity to secure your digital life by following these simple steps.

Step 1 – Create strong passwords.

Strong passwords are at least 8 characters long and a mix of uppercase, lowercase, numbers and symbols. For even stronger passwords, try using a passphrase which may be a modified sentence like, “2day is W0rld Passw0rd Day”, or use the first letter of each word in a phrase as your passphrase like, The rain in Spain stay mainly in the plain would be “Trissmitp”.

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Step 2 – Don’t use the same password for all of your online accounts.

As difficult as it might sound, it is important to use different passwords for each of your online accounts. If you don’t a security breach on one site, may give hackers easy access to your email, financial records, credit cards and anything else they can find on line. Using the same password on every site is like having one key for your home, your car, your office and the safe deposit box at your bank. Fortunately, there is an easy way to manage all of those different passwords.

Step 3 – Use a password manager application.

Applications like 1Password and Dashlane help you create and manage strong passwords and leave you needing to only remember one strong password, which is the one you need to open the application. These applications work across your Mac, iPad and iPhone to keep all of your passwords in sync and can automatically sign you in to sites that you visit.

Step 4 – Use multi-factor authentication

Multi-factor authentication goes beyond just having a strong password by adding additional steps to the log in process. By combining something you know (your password) with something you have (a fingerprint or a trusted piece of hardware), you add an extra layer of protection in the event your password does get compromised.

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