Ten Top Tips for Stronger Passwords

In 2022, Microsoft’s Digital Defence Report estimated that cyber criminals made more than 900 attempts to hack passwords every single second – and warned that the number was on the rise. Only around a tenth of those were successful, but the business magazine Inc. nevertheless reported approximately eight million passwords being stolen each day globally. Concerning, isn’t it?

Thankfully, there are plenty of steps we can take to make our valuable data less accessible to prying eyes. As well as recommending password management software and multi-factor authentication, our NOS #WakeUpWednesday guide also suggests some even easier ways to come up with different passwords that are simple to remember – but difficult to guess.

In everyday life, simplicity can be a beautiful thing. In relation to passwords, though … well, not so much. The password ‘123456’, for example, has featured in data breaches some 23 million times to date. What’s more, around five million people still – incredibly – have their password set as just ‘password’. On average, that takes a half-way competent hacker less than a second to crack.

Sports teams are also best avoided (more than 750,000 hacked UK passwords were some variation on the name of a Premier League football club), as is anything we might accidentally give clues to on social media: family members’ names and birthdays, for instance. Check out this week’s NOS #WakeUpWednesday guide for more password pros and cons.

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