World Password Day - 6th May

Passwords have been around as long as people have been keeping secrets. However, most people think of them as what we put into the box that follows Username and Email on all those websites. But long before that, they served just as important a role, especially in espionage and secret societies. When you want to ensure that the person you were speaking to was the person sent by your organisation, why, you’d ask them for the password!

Secret societies like the Freemasons and other fraternal organisations often asked for these before letting you through their doors and nowadays, such things are of less concern, but digital protection has become absolutely vital to our day to day existence.

Sometimes it’s just protecting our identity on our favorite web forum, and almost everyone has a Facebook account to protect. The problem is, where before you might need just a password or two, most people these days have dozens. Even worse, the protocol for these is often different, some requiring certain characters (numbers, Capitals, Symbols) and others denying the use. It makes having a universal password difficult, and security experts say that doing so is a terrible idea anyway.

World Password Day came along to provide a warning to the world, and to spread awareness that taking care of your passwords is vital to protecting yourself against identity theft.

Data is very much the currency of the modern world. If malicious actors on the internet can get access to your account details, they can impersonate you, steal your data, and even take your money. Furthermore, they can often do all of this while effectively covering their tracks. Even if you wanted to go after them and get your money back, you couldn’t. There’s a terrifying statistic about the current state of our password security. Business Insider did research to determine just how vulnerable accounts were, and discovered that 10,000 of the most common passwords allow access to 98% of all accounts. In other words, most people are using the same passwords – and many for years at a time. Career hackers know this – and it is part of the reason why they’ve been so successful over the last few years. World Password Day, therefore, is an attempt to push back against this. 

The organisers of World Password Day want to educate the world on the importance of having a strong password. A password that resembles your date of birth or, heaven forbid, the word “password” itself, is a cardinal sin. Passwords should, in their view, be long, complex, and bear no resemblance to real words.  They are also pushing the idea of two-factor authentication. As a computer-literate person, you’ve probably already encountered this concept. The idea is to use two forms of security to increase the chances that it is you trying to access your account, and not somebody else. 

Two-factor authentication can take a variety of forms. Most commonly, it involves using a regular password and then sending an alert to your phone to confirm whether it is really you logging in. If it isn’t, then you can reject the request to sign in and change your password. 

We use our passwords to protect all of our digital information, from our social media profiles to our bank accounts. Passwords are fundamental to our security and privacy. Without them, we’re an open book.  Every Password Day, therefore, is an opportunity for people to find out what constitutes a robust password and how to store them. 

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