Local I.T. Professional Says People Should take Notice of World Password Day?

John M. Dabbs

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Is your privacy protected? With all of us working more with technology and using multiple devices at work, home, and on the fly, it is more important than ever for us to maintain secure.

World Password Day

Information Technology (IT) professionals have always warned us to protect our privacy and update our passwords. They have most always told us not to use pet or family names, and not to use dates relevant to us or anything identified with us and well known. Do we heed their advice? Not usually. That is where problems typically arise.

The first Thursday in May is designated a World Password Day.

Long gone are the days when we could use simple passwords like "password." IT conditions changed and required a capital letter, so most of us used "Password." It wasn't enough to secure our data, so they required a digit... "Password1." Then more digits... "Password123." We couldn't be this easy could we? The professionals then insisted we use a special character. The records show that 87% of people used "Password123!" for their security credentials. There were other variations, like "letmein" and the like. It is no wonder we have such security issues. We can only be thankful fingerprint and face recognition algorithms came along to secure our data.

Many of us are guilty and do not even use the strong passwords suggested by our own device software that will even remember the passwords for us. We are to blame. A solid password is our first line of defense.

History of World Password Day

Passwords have been used since we've been keeping secrets. Most people passwords as what we put into the box that follows Username and Email on websites. They served important roles in government secrets, espionage and secret organizations. If you wanted to verify the person you were talking with was correct person sent by an organization, you would have a password or code-phrase to identify each other.

Organizations like the Masons and other fraternal organizations often used these before letting a person through the door. If not for a way to keep the secrets secret, it isn’t much of a secret society.

Such person to person interactions are of less concerns in present day. Security digital information and access to systems has become vital to our normal existence in the modern age. Whether it's protecting our identity on an internet forum, a Facebook or other social media account, or accessing our e-mail - we must have a reliable means to secure our information and systems from others.

The typical person now has multiple passwords and user IDs which must remain protected. They also can't be accessed with a single universal ID and password in today's world.

World Password Day came along to provide a warning to the world. The day is one of awareness and spreading the word of the importance of securing our passwords and using unique identifiers which are readily changed on a frequent basis to protect ourselves.

Malicious people and groups on the internet can access your accounts, impersonate you, steal your data, and even take your money. They often do this and cover their tracks. Even if you wanted to go after them and get your money back, you couldn’t.

Pro Tips

Computer specialist Rhoberta Thomas of Bluff City, Tennessee says it is important to either randomly use words and characters and rotate them frequently, or use a password generator for maximum protection. Thomas says most systems are breached by employees unknowingly downloading malware on to company computers by surfing the internet or opening phishing e-mails targeted to a company.

Thomas says the e-mails or website contain harmless looking links to access routine data, or to contact someone, but when the target clicks on the link they are downloading malware onto the server. Some people unknowingly bring the malware to work on flash drives they've used on their home computers with little to no internet security protection in place.

Thomas says people should learn to hover over links to see what they are before clicking on one, and should also do the same when receiving odd emails from coworkers on their work email. Often is is someone impersonating someone they work with. Hovering over the email address will reveal the true address. If it looks wrong, you should report it to your IT department, or contact the person who supposedly sent the email by the telephone number you have for them to verify if it is legitimate.

The organizers of World Password Day are pushing the idea of two-factor authentication. As a computer-literate person, you’ve probably already encountered this concept. The idea is to use two forms of security to increase the chances that it is you trying to access your account, and not somebody else.

Two-factor authentication can take a variety of forms. Most commonly, it involves using a regular password and then sending an alert to your phone to confirm whether it is really you logging in. If it isn’t, then you can reject the request to sign in and change your password.

How to celebrate World Password Day

The day is less about celebrating a holiday and more of a call to action to protect yourself, your work, and your family from unwanted cyberintrusion intrusion.

Make all of your passwords stronger, use nonsense phrases you can remember, add spaces, change letters to numbers and create originals that a rational hacker won't be able to guess.

Avoid names, dates, anniversaries, pet names, all any things you've posted to Facebook or any other social media account, even if used as part of a meme. You have plenty of options. Thomas says the best rule is to use something that doesn't apply to you or your family - use a word and page number from a book at random, anything that works for you can make a big difference.

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An outdoor enthusiast with a passion for travel and adventure. John is a professional consultant and photojournalist.

Bristol, TN
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