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      Password security while using social media and online applications
      BY Emma Simms

      In 2018 Facebook disclosed that nearly 50 million accounts had been compromised by a large-scale attack on the social media site (Wired 2018). While Facebook eventually patched the breach, it still affected a large proportion of its user base across the world and brings into question – what can a user do to protect their online accounts?  

      When social media first appeared back in 2002, creating a password appeared simple and easy. You would sit briefly staring at your keyboard before choosing the same single word that was rememberable and you used for everything else. The word could have been your first pet, a family member or your favourite band but regardless it was your password. 

      Luckily, we have all become smarter since the early days of 2002 and are more aware of the potential cyber risks due to an insecure password. Companies have also helped to aid us by first asking everyone to add a capital letter, followed by a number, and finally asking us to include a special character. But where do we go from here, when adding these precautions is still not enough to protect our accounts from a potential breech? 

       

      Passphrases 

      For many years now, a long complex password has been recommended to aid in the security of your account. While this can still be true, it is also highly recommended to use a different password for each site/application. Therefore, the number of passwords that you now need to remember has increased dramatically and continues to climb! 

      Passphrases are a simple solution to lengthen your password while keeping it secure, complex and memorable. It is advised to use the following steps when creating a passphrase: 

       

      Step 1: Add words to create a sentence – socialmediacybersecure 
      Step 2: Add capitals – SocialMediaCuberSecure 
      Step 3 – Add punctuat!on and numb3rs – S0c!alMed!aCyberS3cure 
      Step 4 – Add spaces between words – S0c!al Med!a Cyber S3cure 
      Step 5 – Add BLOCK capitals – S0c!al Med!a CYBER S3cure 

       

      Multi Factor Authentication  

      Enabling multifactor Authentication to an account adds another layer of security when gaining access. It’s based on a number of factors such as: 

      • Something you know – This would be your password. 
      • Something you have – This could be a one-time password/token sent to your phone/email or approval via a authentication app such as Microsoft Authentication or Authy. 
      • Something you are – Such as your fingerprint on a biometrics device.  

      Two factor authentication works by using a combination of two of these factors and is becoming common place across the internet and companies’ digital estates. It is highly recommended, where possible, to enable multi factor authentication.  

       

      Password Manager 

      So how do you remember all of your passwords? Troy Hunt, a leading security expert and former Google employee, summarised that between shopping, banking and social media, he needed to remember up to 130 passwords. Even without including company passwords and entertainment passwords such as Netflix, Sky or Amazon, you are looking at an impossible task!  

      The solution is to use a password manager which allows you to store all your passwords in a single place, secured by a single password which you will need to remember. We would point you towards LastPass, Sticky Password, Dashlane, or KeePass. Many of these password managers can also be added as a browser plugin for easy access to your commonly used sites but only install the plugin on a trusted device which also has a strong secure password, such as a personal home computer. 

       

      The future of passwords 

      As technology continues to develop, so must our knowledge & ability to secure our accounts. Therefore, we will continue to find ways to create more complex passwords. This could include using emojis, accessing or creating more special characters, and continuing to lengthen our passwords.  

       

      Stay up to date and if you would like more information about how you can secure your accounts call us on  020 7036 5830 or email us today.  

      social media passphrase password