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World Password Day: Tips and tricks for staying safe online

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Thursday May 6th marks World Password Day, an annually recurring event designed to promote better password habits to help the public stay safe online.

To help people keep their information and data secure this World Password Day, and throughout 2021, Totality Services – a London IT support expert – has shared their top password tips and tricks.

Passwords are critical gatekeepers to our online information and identities, allowing us to access online apps and services such as shopping, banking and social media. With so many people working at home due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, often without the IT support and protection provided when in the office, cybersecurity is more important than ever and the basis of great cybersecurity is using strong passwords.

Impact on small to medium-sized businesses

Small to medium-sized business’ computers and mobile devices (such as tablets and phones) access, share and store huge amounts of information that’s important to its enterprise and its work, finances, employees and customers. Sadly, this data isn’t always safe from prying eyes, even when tucked away in supposedly hard-to-reach, password-protected places.

According to the UK’s Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), smaller enterprises are collectively subject to almost 10,000 cyber-attacks a day. One in five small firms say they’ve suffered a cyber-attack in the last two years. What’s more, the annual cost of such IT security attacks to the small business community is estimated to be £4.5 billion

The FSB research highlights the scale of the problem: one in three small firms say they have not installed security software over the past two years; four in ten do not regularly update their software or their IT systems or back up their data; fewer than half have a strict password policy for devices.

“Hopefully these easy to digest and implement tips can help us stay safe online”

Luis Navarro, Co-Founder of IT support experts, Totality Services, said: “At Totality, we appreciate passwords are the bane of modern life! But we can’t stress how important they are to keep both your personal and business data secure.

“Creating strong, easy to remember but hard to crack versions can seem a challenge. However, it’s actually easier than you think. In reality, you don’t need a random jumble of numbers, letters and symbols to keep the cyber-criminals at bay.

“Hopefully these easy to digest and implement tips can help us stay safe online, not just this World Password Day, but for the foreseeable future.”

Totality Services’ tips and tricks are to:

  • Avoid common phrases, techniques or keyboard paths, such as 1234567, password or qwerty
  • Never include any company-related words and other guessable words such as pet names, hobbies, or supported sports teams
  • Avoid using whole words such as dictionary words, names of famous people, relatives, date of birth or pet names as hackers use programs that perform a dictionary attack. So, if a word is in the dictionary or on your social media profile then you shouldn’t use it – more targeted attacks might check things like pet names, relatives and birthdays first
  • Remember that the more characters you use, the more secure your password is
  • Include a variety of characters, from at least one lowercase letter and one uppercase letter to a number and four symbols (but NOT the symbols &%#@_)
  • Never use a password in more than one place
  • Ensure passwords are changed at least once a year, ideally every quarter
  • Use a password manager which will help you and your team to create, store and share passwords

To learn more about Totality Services, please visit: https://totalityservices.co.uk/