To create awareness about securing ourselves through better password habits (using strong passwords), every year World Password Day is celebrated on first Thursday of May. It remind us about the importance of protecting ourselves through strong passwords. One of the important things which affects us from cyber security perspective is the way how we use our passwords. Let’s look at the password security, better way of using passwords and it’s importance.
History of World Password Day
In 2005, Mark Burnet encouraged people to have a “password day”. Later Intel was inspired by his idea and took initiative to declare first Thursday of May as World Password Day in 2013. After that, the World Password Day was able to raise awareness about the importance of password security among en masse.
Why there is a need to create awareness?
Generally passwords are used for authentication in most of the online accounts such as online banking, online shopping and email. As each of us have multiple online accounts, keeping track of password for each account becomes difficult as the number of accounts tends to increase every year. So the general preference is to use a simple password such as 123456, password123 etc and use the same password for all online accounts. Though, this is very convenient in managing passwords but creates a high security risk.
What are weak passwords?
How can you find out whether your password is hacked?
One of the best website for identifying whether your account has been hacked is “Have I been Pwned“. This website was developed by Troy Hunt and provides information on whether your email addresses and/or passwords have been hacked.
Google has created a chrome extension called “Password Checkup extension” to make it convenient for chrome browser users to check if there passwords are breached. With this extension installed when you enter the password to access your online account in Google chrome browser, this extension checks the password against the password database that contains data breach information. In case if the password is in the breached list, this extension pop up an alert about the breach and ask you to change the password asap. This extension is not only save time but also help protect us from using weak passwords.
How to overcome the challenge of managing passwords?
There are two challenges to be addressed, using a strong password which is difficult to remember and having unique passwords for various online accounts. A simple solution to this problem is using password managers. Password managers are used to store and keep track of all your passwords in a secure way by encrypting it. These password manager contains a master password which acts as a key.
There are two types of password managers:
- Online password manager such as Google password manager and Lastpass which stores passwords in cloud.
- Standalone password managers such as Keypass which stores password in local machine.
Choosing the password manager depends on individual choice and needs. A hybrid model also can be considered due to it’s portability and security. Advantages of password managers includes random password generators that create strong passwords, convenient to access anywhere and anytime, store additional information such as website URL, username and expiry date in a secure way.
Finally to celebrate the World Password Day, you can do the following
- Change all your weak password immediately for all your online accounts.
- Use a password manager and store all you passwords.
- Use two factor authentication for all your online accounts.
- Create awareness among your friends about World Password Day.