Why you need to improve your password and use multifactor authentication

This week we had World Password Day and it’s a great opportunity to emphasise the importance of not only a strong password but also multifactor authentication to make our accounts even more secure.

Weak passwords and poor password practices provides a way in for cyber criminals whether you’re protecting your private social media account or your business’s data.

A recent study conducted by Google found 59 per cent use their name and birthdate in their password, 43 per cent have shared their password and 20 per cent have shared their email password.

But even after a breach, less than half (45 per cent) change their passwords.

And would you believe that 123456 is still the most common password – we’re just asking for trouble. Another popular password – is “password”.

Think of your password as the lock on your door and multifactor authentication as a second lock that can protect your property even if they have the key to other lock.

Having multifactor authentication – also known as two-factor authentication – can be set up by adding your mobile number to any account you secure with a password.

Go into the settings of that account and activate multifactor authentication or two-factor authentication.

This way, whenever you need to sign in to an account on a new device you will be sent a one-time code via text message to prove it is you logging in.

“When it comes to password hygiene, we still have a long way to go, says Jacqueline Jayne, Security Awareness Advocate, APAC at KnowBe4.

“None of us like passwords.  They are however a necessary evil and will be around for a while yet.

“Until we have another option, here are the top 5 things you can do to keep your passwords secure, strong, and safe from the bad guys:”

– Keep your passwords private – never share a password with anyone else.

– Never ever, ever re-use a password (ever).

– Invest in a Password Manager Tool

– Use multi-factor authentication (MFA) when you can and where it makes sense.

– Use passwords of at least eight (8) characters or more (longer is better).

– Use a combination of uppercase letters, lower case letters, numbers, and special characters (for example: !, @, &, %, +) in all passwords.

– On the web, if you think your password may have been compromised, change it at once and then check your other website accounts for misuse.

And here are Jacqueline Jayne’s tips on creating a strong, complex password:

– Think of a phrase or sentence with at least eight words. It should be something easy for you to remember but hard for someone who knows you to guess. It could be a line from a favourite poem, story, movie, song lyric, or quotation you like. Example: “I Want To Put A Dent In The Universe”

– Remove all but the first letter of each word in your phrase:  IWTPADITU

– Replace several of the upper-case letters with lowercase ones, at random: iWtpADitU

– Now substitute a number for at least one of the letters. (Here, we’ve changed the capital “I” to the numeral 1: iWtpAD1tU

– Finally, use special characters ( $, &, +, !, @) to replace a letter or two — preferably a letter that is repeated in the phrase. You can also add an extra character to the mix. (Here, we’ve replaced the “t” with “+”, and added an exclamation point at the end.) : iW+pAD1tU!

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