In 2013 Intel
created world password day, which falls on the first Thursday of May. The purpose of World Password Day is to address the ever-growing critical need for solid and secure passwords, and promote awareness of the importance of strong passwords, and why everyone should change them on a regular basis.
Prior to technological advances, traditionally passwords were used by secret organisations or societies and other fraternal organisations as a form of code to gain admission or entrance, whereby individuals would be asked for passwords before letting themselves through the door. The modern-day definition
of a password is “a string of characters that allows access to a computer system or service.” Passwords are now an essential part of individual everyday lives, from email to phone passwords to Wi-Fi passwords.
History of the Password
Here is a nice timeline
of the password.
1961 - The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) created the computer password. The purpose? Enabling multiple individuals to use a single computer system.
1976 - The emergence of public-key cryptography enabled two computer users to authenticate one another without the transfer of a cryptographic key.
1978 - Researchers published the first study demonstrating that guessing passwords based on a person’s identity was easier than cracking passwords with computers.
1986 - Two-factor authentication came onto the scene. It received a high level of adoption.
2013 - The creation of World Password Day.
The Importance of a Strong Password
Today data can be seen as another form of currency or simply put, data is money. When corporate or personal data is stolen, it’s generally sold on the dark web for a profit and individuals and organisations can experience overwhelming fallouts and issues. However, Microsoft
has stated that 99.9% of threats to passwords protecting our data can be stopped by using multi-factor authentication.
As much as we all try to convince ourselves that no one will be able to guess our passwords, we are wrong. Today the most common passwords are still ‘1234567’ or ‘qwerty’. Strong and secure passwords are vital, it takes less than half a second for hackers to crack a 7 character password, but it takes the same hackers up to 5 days to crack a password of at least 9 characters!
Passwords should be changed once every few weeks, but it still helps to change it within months. The reason for this is, if your passwords are ever leaked in a data breach, a new stronger password would now be in place by updating and changing it on a regular basis.
How to Make a Strong Password
These are some good guidelines to make sure you’re on the right track. Go for at least 15 characters for your password, in this case, the more the better! Use a mix of numbers, symbols and special characters as well as upper-case and lower-case letters. Make it as unique as you can, many people remember a special sentence and use letters from it to have something truly unique. Change your password every few weeks and use a password manager, we use and highly recommend Keeper
Things to Remember
Avoid complete words, sequences or replacing letters with numbers e.g. (D00R8377). Special characters or symbols are often language-specific, causing issues when travelling. An internet cafe in Thailand will not use the same keyboard as in Ireland or another in Denmark. Be mindful of what characters you choose for your password so you are not locked out due to not knowing the keyboard shortcut internationally!
As technology advances and changes at such a fast pace so do the threats and the sophistication of these threats and means of attacks, therefore the best practices surrounding passwords are crucial. World Password Day is a reminder to celebrate how the password has transformed how we safeguard our digital information. Therefore, as with physical assets, we must ensure that our digital assets are as secure as possible.