Soon enough, passwords may be a thing of the past, but until then it’s still, in most cases, the only thing that separates a cybercriminal from your entire digital life. Despite the fact that skilled hackers can crack a weak password in less than 3 minutes, recent studies reveal that people are still incredibly irresponsible with their passwords.
According to a Google survey, nearly half of Britons have revealed their password to somebody else, and a third of people still use the same password for every website. But why do so many people take such risks with their online security?
Part of the problem is that people really seem to hate passwords, even though they’re the only thing keeping them safe from threats like identity theft, the destruction of personal data, and potential financial ruin!
A recent Harris Interactive poll found 38% of respondents would rather clean a toilet than come up with a new password and, more alarmingly, that they believed it would be easier to try to solve world peace than to deal with another set of login credentials!
Such a phobia of passwords among more than a third of respondents goes some way to explaining why people are so irresponsible with their passwords, which is why Google, which has a vested interest in online security, is actively researching potential alternatives to the password systems of today.
Know the Threats
It’s not only humans you need to worry about, however – there are plenty of computer programs designed to steal your password as well. Some of them, like those designed to enter random combinations of characters until they eventually stumble upon the correct one, can be thwarted by using a long and complicated password. Others, like key-logging software, are more malicious.
Key-logging software acts as a computer virus. It can install itself on your computer when you visit an insecure website or download a file from an untrustworthy source. Then it records all of your keystrokes, including your login credentials, and sends the data to the cybercriminal behind the software. To prevent this from happening to you:
- Update your browser. Most updates fix newly discovered vulnerabilities in the software. If you allow these vulnerabilities to persist, you put yourself at risk of allowing key-logging software to be downloaded to your computer.
- Use https. If you’re browsing any website without “https” then a hacker, if they wanted to, could see everything you do, including entering your login credentials into your email or online bank account. Your best bet is to install the Https Everywhere extension (for Firefox or Google Chrome) which automatically encrypts any unencrypted data while you’re browsing.
How to Create a Secure Password
- Complicate things. Don’t use any of the most common passwords and use a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.
- Longer is better. The longer the password, the harder it is to guess. Make sure to include at least 10 characters.
- Use multiple passwords. If you use the same password for everything, only one security breach is enough to allow a cybercriminal to access your entire digital life, from email and social media to online banking.
How to Keep your Payza Account Safe
- Log out. It’s tempting to allow your browser to remember the passwords for every site, but it gives cybercriminals one more way to steal your information.
- Use Advanced Security Setup. Payza’s Advanced Security feature allows you to set up a customized avatar and a welcome image which will be displayed to you during your login process, reducing the threat of phishing by allowing you to confirm that you are accessing the secure Payza site. You’ll also be able to set up question-and-answer pairings to help us confirm that you are the true account holder.
Payza is always innovating ways to keep your information, and your money, secure, but you need to do your part as well. Whatever the future of security may hold, you should do everything you can to behave securely and responsibly online. It’s easy to think “it could never happen to me” but almost every day there’s a new story of a high-profile account hack. Don’t let yourself be one of them.