World Password Day!

On the first Thursday of every May, we celebrate World Password Day; a day to remind us about the importance of passwords and their significance.

What is World Password Day? 

On the first Thursday of every May, we celebrate World Password Day; a day to remind us about the importance of passwords and their significance. Passwords are everything these days, and it is crucial to acknowledge their importance in our increasingly digital lives. Let’s dive into the history of World Password Day and talk about a couple tips to help you increase your personal security.

For many, passwords are but a nuisance; a minor obstacle as they access the various online platforms that make up their social, professional or personal lives. I can promise you, however that passwords are so much more than that. Passwords allow us to ensure that our lives in the virtual sphere are secure. Passwords protect us from financial fraud, identity theft and more. That’s why World Password Day is so important!

In his book, Perfect Passwords published in 2005, security researcher Mark Burnett first urged internet users to observe a “password day,” in order to increase awareness about the importance of password security. In May of 2013, the security folks at Intel® were inspired by Burnett’s idea and proposed that the first Thursday of every May be World Password Day to do just that. 

The Importance of Secure Passwords 

As the world becomes more and more digital, hackers are getting better at cracking passwords. For little more than $20 an hour, hackers can use a system in the cloud to automate brute force attacks. In a matter of hours, this system can guess every single password combination that has seven characters. However, most hackers know that there are even more efficient ways to guess an individual’s passwords. Humans are incredibly predictable, and with the advent of social media, we often display our love for things openly and publicly. These two factors make it fairly easy for hackers to guess what our passwords may be through a series of patterns. If a hacker manages to figure out your password for something menial like Facebook it is very likely that they may attempt to use the same password for your bank account. Password strength is immensely important in the world we live in to protect your identity and financial security.

Now that we know why passwords are so important, let’s dive into a few tips that will help you keep your passwords safe from attacks.

Length is paramount. While the standard for minimum password length is typically seven characters, every additional character makes your password exponentially more difficult to crack. Special characters are nice, numbers are great, but where the strength of your password is really going to shine is through the length of it.

Diversity across platforms. Although it can be a bit of a nuisance, having a different password for every single platform you use online will substantially increase your cyber security. If one of your passwords is compromised, using this technique will give you peace of mind that your other accounts remain secure. A solid way to track all of your passwords is to use a password manager. Password managers will keep track of your passwords across the platforms you use and are usually a remarkably secure way to store them.

Using multi-factor authentication. Multi-factor authentication enables platforms to require two or more modes of security to access your accounts whenever you attempt to log in on a new device. It’ll require something only you know: usually a password, something only you have: often your phone or authentication device, and something only you can be: biometrics like a fingerprint or face scan. This keeps hackers from being able to access your accounts, even if they do have your password. Activate multi-factor authentication whenever possible to further secure your passwords.

Avoid being predictable. This one seems like a bit of a given, but unfortunately the names of your pets or the birth date of your partner are not secure password ideas. Try to come up with memorable phrases or concepts that are generally obscure and difficult to guess. Avoid using dictionary words in your passwords. These are the first passwords hackers attempt when making brute force attempts.

This World Password Day, try your best to increase your password security by using these tips. Passwords are the key to cyber security and making sure that yours are strong is the best way you can celebrate today. Happy #WorldPasswordDay!