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World Password Day is celebrated on the first Thursday in May every year. This day was created to raise awareness about the importance of strong passwords and their role in protecting our online identity and safeguarding organisations from cyber threats. It reminds us that we must take our passwords seriously and use them responsibly to protect ourselves, our personal information and organisations from cyber threats.

Passwords are the first line of defence in our digital world. They protect online accounts, personal information, and sensitive data from cybercriminals. Unfortunately, many of us still use weak passwords or reuse the same password for multiple accounts in our personal and work life. This practice makes online accounts vulnerable to cyber attacks.

To improve password security within an organisation, there are several measures which you can implement:

  • Avoid enforcing regular password changes, as it only frustrates users and often leads to minor changes such as replacing “password1” with “password2.”
  • Another important aspect of password security is two-factor authentication (2FA). 2FA adds an extra layer of protection to your accounts by requiring a second form of authentication, such as a code sent to your phone, in addition to your password. It’s essential to enable 2FA wherever possible, especially on your most critical accounts.
  • Verify your passwords against lists of common or breached passwords, as these are usually the first options that hackers will try. The Have I Been Pwned website allows you to verify if your password has been leaked in any cyber breaches.
  • Use different passwords for ALL accounts, particularly between personal and business accounts.
  • Educate staff on password security, and consider implementing a password policy to ensure that employees use strong passwords. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) recommends combining three random words to create a password that is “long enough and strong enough,” such as ‘AppleFishPen’.
  • Avoid the most commonly used passwords that cybercriminals can easily guess.
  • To create and manage strong passwords, you can use a password manager. A password manager software tool generates and stores complex passwords for your online accounts. It also auto-fills login credentials, making it easier for you to access your accounts without remembering multiple passwords.

In conclusion, World Password Day reminds us of the importance of strong passwords and their role in safeguarding online accounts and sensitive data. We must take password security seriously and use ‘strong enough and long enough’ unique passwords for each account. By doing so, we can protect ourselves and our organisation from cyber threats and stay safe online.