How to choose a secure password and stay safe online: step-by-step guide

Although people agree that using a username and password for online protection is old school, most mainstream websites still rely heavily on it. It is amazing to believe that the most commonly used password is still as simple as “12345” and many consumers still believe that the word “Password” makes for a strong password, I hate to say it….

So what’s the reason people don’t change their passwords? And perhaps even more importantly: why do website owners knowingly choose not to implement policies that at least block the use of those top 20 or 100 passwords?

Much of it is due to a combination of convenience and “user laziness”. It is reasonable to estimate that implementing rules requiring the use of complex passwords would permanently drive away between 5% and 10% of customers who simply cannot bother to invent and remember. of something complicated. No website owner wants to turn away customers.

According to a 2021 Data Breach Investigation Report (DBIR 2021), cybercriminals primarily target confidential data such as credentials and personal information that is often used as the basis for passwords. At retail outlets alone, these breaches included consumer payment details (42%), personal details (41%) and identifying information (33%). 95% of organizations that have experienced a credential stuffing attack, which is an automated injection of stolen username and password (“credential”) pairs into websites, have recorded between 637 and 3.3 billion malicious login attempts during the year.

A distracted person can (and will) forget a password within minutes of creating it. That said, here are some important password tips to remember to help you create stronger passwords.

Even people who are careful with certain accounts, such as online banking, can be content with passwords for email, for example, even though these tools can also contain a lot of sensitive information. Remember the underlying principle: good password management starts with being careful, strategic and consistent.

About the Author: Ali Neil is Director of Global Security Solutions at Verizon Business. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author.

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