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International Password Day

Every year, the first Thursday of May marks the World Password Day. This is a good opportunity to recall some of the basics of encrypting your accounts. Passwords are one of the fundamental tools to protect your data in the digital world. As we store more and more information online, from financial data to private messages, it is important that to create strong passwords that will not be cracked by potential unauthorised users. This article presents an outline of a number of steps you can take to create secure passwords.

Avoid obvious passwords

Choosing obvious passwords, such as ‘admin123’ or ‘firstname lastname’, is one of
the most common mistakes you can make when you are setting up passwords. Avoid using easy to guess information such as your name, surname, date of birth or company name in your password. Instead, try to come up with something original that others wouldn’t have thought about when they are thinking about you.

Top 10 most popular passwords according to NordPass as of 24 April 2023:

  1. password
  2. 123456
  3. 123456789
  4. guest
  5. qwerty
  6. 12345678
  7. 111111
  8. 12345
  9. col123456
  10. 123123

Length matters

The length of a password is one of the key factors of its strength. The longer the password, the more difficult it is to crack. Ideally, it should have at least 12 characters. Try to use a combination of letters (both upper and lower case), numbers and special characters such as #, @ or ! to increase the complexity of the password.

Avoid dictionary words

Passwords based on dictionary expressions are easy to crack, as such words are among the first words that hackers will try. Therefore, avoid predictable words and choose combinations of random letters, numbers and special characters.

Unique passwords for different accounts

Avoid using the same password for multiple online accounts, such as your e-mail, social media or bank accounts. If one of your passwords is cracked, your other accounts will still remain secure. Try to create unique passwords for each account you have.

Change passwords regularly

Changing your password regularly is another important step in keeping your online accounts secure. It is recommended to change your password at least once in three months. Do not use simple patterns, such as adding numbers to an existing password. Instead, create new unique passwords each time.

Use a password manager

The password manager is a tool that stores and generates strong passwords for each of your online accounts. With the password manager, you don’t have to remember the passwords yourself, which makes everyday online life easier. You can use one master password for the password manager, which is very strong, and the manager itself will automatically generate unique suggestions for each of your accounts. Make sure you choose a reputable password manager that provides full security and protection.

Use two-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication is an additional level of protection that asks you to enter an additional code to authenticate your online account. The additional code is generated on your smartphone, for example, or texted to your phone number. With two-factor authentication, even if someone learns your password, they will not be able to log into your account without entering an additional authentication code.

Be careful when sharing passwords

Avoid sharing your passwords with others, even close friends or siblings. Always be cautious when asked to share your password, especially on unknown websites or in response to suspicious e-mails. Make sure you only share your passwords on trusted websites or in a secure

In conclusion

Setting up secure passwords is one of the key steps in protecting your online data. Avoid obvious passwords, choose longer passwords with unique combinations of letters, numbers and special characters. Do not use dictionary words and create unique passwords for various online accounts. Change passwords regularly and use a password manager and two-factor authentication (2FA) to further secure your accounts. On top of that, be careful when sharing your passwords and follow the online security rules. Remember, protecting your passwords means protecting your valuable online data!

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