It seems that not a week goes by without the media reporting another instance of a data breach. More often than not it is of user’s passwords becoming compromised. Given that a password is very often the last line of defence against an intrusion into our personal data, the risk that this presents cannot be underestimated.
If it’s not organisations being hacked or inadvertently giving up peoples’ passwords, it is individuals themselves that are at fault. It was only recently that U.S. Presidential candidate, Mitt Romney had his email account breached by someone who simply guessed his favourite pet to access his account.
Hackers are always looking to develop new and innovative means of breaking into our personal data. Therefore, it is up to us as individuals to make this task as difficult as possible for them. We all ultimately have the responsibility of providing a worthwhile deterrent to those who would attempt to gain unauthorised access into our accounts, with a view to exploiting our information. At its heart, this is a battle between them and us, and it is our job to outmanoeuvre them, ensuring they do not gain access to our personal accounts.
Having a weak password is making life easy for them and essentially freeing up their time to go on intruding on many more accounts. So it’s important that we give serious thought to the passwords we use, veering away from the more obvious choices such as birthdays, pets, favourite sports teams and other topics close to our hearts. The more obscure and unrelated to us that a password is, and the more unusual, the harder it will be for a hacker to break. Combining numbers and letters provides additional complexity, as does changing the case of the characters. Avoiding writing down passwords and changing them at regular intervals will also bolster our protection from cyber criminals.
At best, a weak password is tempting fate, and at worst, it is providing a welcome sign to criminals looking for easy access into our personal information. Make sure you do all you can in protecting yourself from this threat.