Yes, such a day exists and it’s today, May 7th 2013. Intel and McAfee are working to make sure consumers increase their security awareness and front line of digital protection by asking everyone to change their passwords today.
Reuse of passwords across multiple sites is a big problem. In the digital world, many of us are much more vulnerable than we need to be. For example, it’s very likely that your Amazon password is the same as your Gmail password and also the same one you use for online banking and your Facebook account.
In fact, 74% of Internet users use the same password across multiple websites1, so if a hacker gets your password, they now have access to all your accounts. Reusing passwords for email, banking, and social media accounts can lead to identity theft and financial loss.
And what’s worse is that many people use simple, easy to guess passwords. A recent study found that the most common passwords people use are “password,” “123456,” and “12345678.”2 No wonder cybercriminals are finding it so easy to get into our accounts.
The solution is as simple as changing your habits. Take a moment to protect yourself in a basic area of security, and you can save hours of trouble. In fact you can test how hackable your password is with this tool from Intel.
If you need help moving from just one password, here’s a trick: Use one for your bank accounts, another for email and social networking accounts, so if your email account gets hacked, your bank account isn’t compromised. For more tips on how to create a simple, secure password, read this article.
Here are some other tips to protect your password:
Avoid logging onto sites that require passwords on public computers, such as those at an Internet café or library—these computers may contain malware that could “record” what you are typing.
Avoid entering passwords when using unsecured Wi-Fi connections, such as at an airport or in a coffee shop—your passwords and other data can be intercepted by hackers over this unsecured connection.
Don’t use the “remember me” function on your browser or within apps—if you walk away or lose your device, someone could easily login to your accounts.
Use comprehensive security software on all your devices, like McAfee All Access, and keep it up to date to avoid malware that could “see” what you are typing on your device or unknowingly send data to hackers.
Password Day is more than a day, it’s a way of life. Don’t leave the backdoor to your life open. Pledge to change yours today.
For more information, join @Intel, @McAfeeConsumer, @StopThnkConnect and @Cyber (the Department of Homeland Security) for a tweet chat today at 3pm ET on protecting your passwords. To participate simply use the hashtag #ChatSTC.
Robert Siciliano is an Online Security Expert to McAfee. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked! (Disclosures)