According to a recent MasterCard study, each of us have an average of 10 different accounts, devices, or applications for which we have to enter a password at least once a week, and on average, we enter about eight passwords daily.
Unsurprisingly, only 16 percent of us say we never forget our passwords, which means 84 percent of us do, and have to change it at some point!
On average it takes people 11 minutes to reset a forgotten password, which usually happens more than five times a month. That comes to more than 15 lost minutes per week, or more than 13 hours per year!
Perhaps it’s the challenge of having to remember so many passwords that means many of us re-use the same password for our accounts. Only three in five people use different passwords for different accounts.
The problem with using the same password for many accounts is that once someone discovers one of your passwords they can access any of your devices or online accounts.
In addition, a fifth of people use birthdays, 18 percent their pet’s name, and 12 percent family names. These passwords are relatively easy for hackers to guess, gaining access to your sensitive information.
So how can we protect ourselves?
The future of online security is the use of biometrics, which will help keep personal information secure without the need for passwords. For example, fingerprints are being used to confirm your identity when making a payment on smart phones.
MasterCard is currently piloting “Selfie Pay,” which allows people to use the camera on their phone to take a selfie as part of a two-step authentication process when shopping using mobile. To ensure a photo is taken of an actual person, the sensors look out for motions like the blink of an eye.
This advanced technology is yet to be made available to everyone, so in the meantime, here are some tips for picking and using passwords:
- Always use a combination of numbers, letters and other characters such as exclamation marks!
- Make it long – at least eight characters but ideally sixteen
- Never use names, locations, phone numbers or birthdays
- Use a mixture of upper and lower case characters
- Don’t use English words – most hackers assume passwords will be in English
- Don’t let websites remember your passwords
- Use different passwords for different sites and devices
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