Today (May 7) is World Password Day – a day dedicated to promoting the use of strong passwords and the creation of good habits when it comes to choosing passwords.
To that end, last year Intel started an action-oriented campaign to raise user awareness regarding password problems, and this year their initiative has a new digital home.
Passwordday.org provides the Password Blaster (a videogame that teaches good passwords using real leaked passwords), the Password Strength Meter, links to McAfee’s Heartbleed Test tool, offers animated educational GIFs and tips and tricks for upgrading your passwords.
If you need a reason to participate, know that 90% of passwords are vulnerable to hacking, that data breaches exposed 552 million identities from popular websites in 2013 (a 62% increase from 2012), and that the Heartbleed security flaw exposed sensitive data from up to 66% of active websites.
There’s no better time than today to change all your passwords. When choosing a new password, choose length over complexity.
“Any complex eight-character password can be cracked in 5.5 hours. The password ‘thunder showers at sunset’ would take more than a million years to crack,” Intel pointed out.
Also, know that changing your passwords regularly significantly reduces your risk of being hacked. If you have a lot of accounts (as lots of us do), consider using a password manager to keep on top of things. This will also help you to have a different complex password for every account, especially the most sensitive ones (banking, email).
If you are interested in additional tips and information about password alternatives, you can read the interview we recently did with Per Thorsheim, the founder and main organizer of PasswordsCon, the first and only international conference on passwords.
It’s also good to check out what are the most common passwords found on the Internet (so that you can avoid using them) and which e-commerce sites do more to protect your password.