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Digital PCSO asks "How secure is your password?"

Posted on 1st November 2016
DigitalPCSO Digital PCSO asks "How secure is your password?"

Hi and welcome to my November blog post.

This past month has seen many campaigns being circulated to raise awareness of frauds and cyber scams. From Get Safe Online Day to ‘#ThinkRandom!’ by Cyber Aware, these campaigns had one main thing in common – Passwords.

With the Christmas season fast approaching, many of us may be heading online to start our shopping and all we need to do this is our email address and password. However, the words, numbers and symbols that we chose for online banking or shopping sites can have a big impact on our security if compromised.

The chances are you use passwords every day to log on to your computer, get onto favourite websites or log on at work. If a criminal manages to get hold of your passwords then they can easily access sensitive information such as banking details and emails. Unfortunately this could lead to identity fraud or theft.

Technology has advanced enough for unethical hackers to create a whole range of tools in order to access your personal data. Some hackers have software that is able to generate thousands of password guesses a second. Amazingly in many cases, the main hurdle for the hacker stands between your personal information remaining safe or being disclosed is the password you have chosen.

Some of the best tips I have come across to create a strong and secure password include:

  • Use a different password for each account. If you use the same password for all accounts, all may be compromised if one is hacked.
  • Use a combination of at least eight letters with a mixture of upper case and lower case, along with numbers and special characters. The latest Home Office campaign suggests the strongest password contains three random words; however numbers and special characters can be used to enhance your password.
  • Make sure that your password that does not contain any personal information about yourself or is identifiable to attribute to you such as birthdays or names of your pets.
  • Update your recovery email address so that you can be easily contacted should you need to reset your password. Where possible, add two step verification, for example on your phone so you are able to receive password rest codes by text.
  • Ensure the answers to any security questions you create are only things you know and can’t be sought out on your social media profiles.
  • Keep your passwords secure and never leave them lying around or easy to find.

If you have any cyber concerns or would like advice on an issue, let me know by contacting me on 101 or sending a message here - It could be our next blog post.

Visit the Cyber hub for the latest Protect Yourself Online news, advice on a range of online issues such as social media safety, frauds and cyber bullying, along with upcoming virtual surgeries.

Follow me on Twitter for daily advice and information: @DigitalPCSO

Do you need a quick answer to a general question? Then we recommend you visit the national Ask The Police web site.