Today I had the phone call we all dread!
“Hello. this is the fraud dept at your Bank….”
My heart sank. I hadn’t seen anything untoward in the bank accounts. But little did I know – last night someone from some far flung country had booked a couple of very expensive holidays using my credit card, which I might add has not left my wallet for a very long time, so how did it happen?
All I do know is that I am now madly changing all my passwords (which I had thought were pretty good and strong) and trying to plug whatever leak there might be. The only problem is, – I have no idea where it might be!
According to a new survey from Cyber Streetwise it appears the vast majority of Britons are not taking the necessary steps to protect their identity online. Worse though a whopping 75 percent admitting they do not follow best practice to create complex passwords.
New guidance from the UK government recommends creating a strong password using: Three words or more and Adding a Symbol to make the password even more secure.
Unsafe Password Habits
Despite 95 percent of Britons saying it is their own responsibility to protect themselves online, two thirds are risking their safety by not using symbols in passwords.
Over 35 percent of those questioned admit that they do not create strong passwords because they struggle to remember them and 47 percent admitted to unsafe passwords such as using pet names or memorable dates.
Karen Bradley Modern Slavery and Organised Crime Minister said:
“When passwords are compromised, financial and banking details can be stolen, causing problems for the person affected, for businesses and for the economy. There is an emotional impact caused by the loss of irreplaceable photos, videos and personal emails, but even worse, these can be seized to extort money.
“We can and must play a role in reducing our risk of falling victim to cyber crime. Most attacks can be prevented by taking some basic security steps, and I encourage everyone to do so.”
The government acknowledges that cyber crime is a serious threat to the UK and they are taking action to increase public awareness of the risk having dedicated £860 million over the next five years through to transform the UK response to cyber security.
Tips for creating and remembering passwords:
Loci method: Imagine a familiar scene and place each item that needs to be remembered in a particular location i.e. red rose on the table, book on chair, poster on wall. Imagine yourself looking around the room in a specific sequence. Re-imagine the scene and the location of each item when you need to remember
Acronyms: Use a phrase or a sentence and take the first letter from that sentence
Narrative methods: Remember a sequence of key words by creating a story and littering it with memorable details e.g. ‘the little girl wore a bright yellow hat as she walked down the narrow street…’
So come on guys ‘n gals lets do our part, none of us wants to be so irresponsible as to invite the hackers in to take our personal financial details, business information or photographs to be stolen or held to ransom, so start changing those passwords now!
Use three or more words, a mixture of numbers, letters and symbols, upper and lower case letters at least make it darned difficult for the hackers to access our details.
Go safely till the next time