Are bad password habits putting your identity and your personal data at risk? A recent study conducted by internet security provider Webroot, claims that poor password practices are putting consumers’ identities in a vulnerable position.
According to Jeff Horne, Director of Threat Research at Webroot, “We’re seeing between 40,000 to 100,000 new samples of malware emerge daily, and in most of those cases the motivation behind the malware is financial. Using good password and security practices will help thwart similar attacks; make a common practice to never store your password in a browser or FTP site, and have reputable, up-to-date anti-malware protection in place.”
Over 50% of people believe their passwords are secure. However, our password practices tell a different story according to Webroot:
- Over 50% of people share their passwords with at least one other person
- 14% never change their password
- 20% use a significant date or a pet’s name as a password
- 41% use the same passwords for multiple accounts
- 47% use their Facebook passwords on other accounts
- 84% use passwords shorter than ten characters
So, what can you do to protect your personal information and keep your identity secure?
Make sure your passwords are unique – incorporate numbers, letters, and special characters into your password. Don’t use personal information such as important dates, pet’s names, etc., data that is often listed on sites such as Facebook. This kind of information is easy for hackers to access.
Use only one password per site – Using the same password for multiple sites can open up the floodgates for identity thieves should one of the password-protected sites become compromised.
Do not share your passwords – Once a password gets out, you have little control over who can access it in the future. If you have given up control of your password, then be sure to change it.
Change passwords periodically – Never keep the same password for more than a year, even on sites you rarely use.
Don’t allow your web browser to save your password – The most widely distributed password stealing Trojans, including Zbot and SpyEye, know where to look and how to steal that information if you get infected.
Don’t forget about old, unused password-protected accounts – Any old, unused free account on a message board, Web mail service, or social network can be hijacked for fraud. When you plan to quit a service or forum, change your password so criminals can’t use your account.
Still feeling a little unsure about Internet security? Your trusted IT provider can provide guidance on password security, password management, and Internet protection so that your personal and business data stays secure.
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