InfoSec Blog - World Password Day

May 1, 2019

World Password day occurs annually on the first Thursday of May. It is a reminder to all of us to keep our passwords safe and secure, thus promoting better password habits.

 

History

When we talk about passwords, most people associate them to online services such as email, social networking sites, etc.  But long before the digital world, passwords were used as an authentication mechanism. It's safe to say that passwords have been around since human beings started keeping secrets.

Remember, Arabian Night’s Alibaba and the Forty Thieves? A great example of password authentication. Remember how the cave holding all the treasure opens on saying of certain words (open sesame) and seals itself on the saying certain words (close sesame)?

Passwords were extensively used during the early 19th century, during the World Wars and they become more prominent during the cold war era and in some secret societies when people used passwords to confirm the identity, before giving out vital information.

These things are less of a concern nowadays, but internet security is a vital concern for everyone and the first line of defense is a strong password. Despite multiple warnings from cybersecurity experts and new breaches making the news almost every day, most of us still like to re-use the same password over and over again.
 

 

Celebrate World Password Day?

Did you know that Identity theft is one of the world’s fastest growing crimes? And most passwords can be easily broken. So what should we do to keep ourselves safe from these ever growing threats?

Celebrate the World Password Day by pledging to keep your identity safe, adopt better password habits, and change your passwords to make them stronger and more complex.

Below are some tips on how to make your passwords better: 

  • Use at least 14 characters in your password

  • Use a mix of upper case and lower case characters

  • Include numbers and special characters

  • Create an easy-to-remember passphrase by choosing a phrase and adding numbers and symbols

    • "It might seem crazy what I'm about to say" becomes "Itmightseem7CrazywhatI'mabout56to$ay"

  • Consider using a password manager, such as Last Pass or KeePass (see our blog post on getting started)

  • Change your passwords frequently

  • Ensure the legitimacy of websites before providing credentials

  • Use a different password for every one of your accounts

  • Use multifactor authentication where possible

  • Never reuse your password

 

Let's celebrate World password day this year and spread awareness about strong passwords to protect ourselves against identity theft.

Start by changing our University of Guelph’s password at https://www.uoguelph.ca/ccs/apps/password/change/ and then move on to other platforms.

Passwords are no guarantee of 100% identity security and cybersecurity experts advocate for the use of two-factor authentication where possible. Maybe soon enough, we will be celebrating World two-Factor Authentication day? To learn more about two-factor factor please visit https://www.uoguelph.ca/ccs/infosec/twofactor 

 

Written by: Satnam Deol (Information Security Analyst II)