Keeping on top of all the digital passwords we now use every day is a growing nightmare. Experts are constantly warning us all to use different codes for every online account we own but remembering your email login, social media accounts, banking apps and online shopping passwords can be harder than guessing the daily Wordle.
With most of us now using multiple online services it’s easy to get into bad habits that could end up putting personal information at serious risk of attack and according to new research from Uswitch.com, it seems millions of Britons are doing just that by making simple errors when it comes to their passwords.
The comparison site says that one in four of us write our codes on paper to help remember them. It’s not hard to see why this could lead to things being comprised should those notes end up in the wrong hands. Along with scribbling things down, another mistake is using easily guessable phrases such as a pet’s name or birthday.
According to the Uswitch survey, around 30 percent of us are using passwords that contain our birth years or the name of the family pet. If you want to keep things safe from hackers it’s best never to use any personal identifying information as this is the first thing cyber thieves will try.
Another thing many of us continue to do is use ridiculously guessable codes. You might not believe it but things such as ‘password’, ‘12345’, ‘qwerty’ and ‘11111’ are still hugely popular and it’s not hard to see why that could leave accounts open to attack.
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Even if you have an uncrackable password you should still consider changing it on a regular basis. It’s thought around 26% percent of users don’t change their passwords regularly, making them more vulnerable to hackers. To further secure passwords, using a different one for each log in can also deter hackers. There are tools to help remember and manage this, such as authentication apps and password managers which can help securely store log-ins
Speaking about the research, Nick Baker, broadband expert at Uswitch.com says: “It’s apparent that people are still making simple mistakes when it comes to choosing a password, whether it’s including personal information or including simple, out of date combinations for logins.
“As most of our lives are stored online, it’s never been more important to ensure that our private data is protected, and having a strong password is the first line of defence against hackers.
“Many people struggle to remember their log-ins and often revert to using the same one on repeat, which tends to lead to poor password strength. Using two-step authentication or password managers can be a good way to ensure your data is secure from hackers, without having to share or write down your information.”
PASSWORD TIPS FROM USWITCH:
• Spell out a memorable phrase using a mix of numbers, symbols, and acronyms: Example: T3rRy550c1alMed!Ac1234 (Terrys Social Media Account)
• You can do the above to customise for each site.
• Use your keyboard as a canvas to draw or write something memorable to you.
• Use a password manager if you think you won’t remember them.
• Make it as long as you can and use lowercase, uppercase, numbers, and symbols in every password.
• Don’t write your password down. Not on paper, not in an email, not anywhere!
• Don’t reuse passwords across accounts.
• Avoid using loved ones’ names.
• Avoid using memorable keyboard paths. Example: 123456, qwerty.
• Don’t tell anyone your password.