Many Canadians use the same password for multiple accounts, and with the average person holding around 118 accounts, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is reminding people of good security practices in the lead up to National Password Day on March 15.
The fourth annual National Password Day is an initiative – run in conjunction with National Fraud Prevention Month and BBB’s Top 10 Scams campaign – to encourage businesses and consumers to practice proactive cybersecurity.
During this national day of awareness around fraud protection, BBB calls on Canadians to change the passwords of their top three accounts in terms of confidential information.
“Passwords are such an integral part of our digital lives, as we use them to help secure important personal and financial information,” says Karla Davis, manager of Community and Public Relations for BBB serving Mainland B.C. “However, with 73 per cent of users repeating the same password for multiple online accounts and the majority not creating strong passwords at all, there are millions of people whose confidential information is one hacker away from being compromised, placing them at risk of falling victim to identity theft.”
The average person has around 118 online accounts, according to a study in the UK, and every single one has personal, if not financial, information tied to them.
To help protect from hackers and fraud, BBB recommends changing passwords to include eight to 13 characters, with a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols.
Song lyrics, words in another language or unusual movie titles can be good, but avoid words found in the dictionary.
A common favourite for passwords is using family and pet names, but BBB highly discourages it, along with using birth dates, as these are easy to crack.
Also avoid just adding a number or letter to the last password. It is important to create something new.
Passwords should be changed at least two or three times per year, according to BBB, and should vary across accounts.
Closing inactive or seldom-used accounts is another way to minimize exposure.
To learn more, including additional password security best practices, visit bit.ly/password-day.
For information on BBB’s National Top 10 Scams, go to bit.ly/top10scams.
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