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World Password Day

A good password can save the day! Prevent corporate espionage, sabotage and personal identity theft by relying on strong and savvy passwords.

Are you still using your annual vacation destination plus the ‘@’ symbol for your banking password? In 2021, that’s not enough to protect your financial resources. During this year’s World Password Day, #LayerUp your password security. Develop strong additional authentication mechanisms for your most important accounts. This can help prevent theft, fraud and other cyber crimes.

World Password Day, when did it start? 

The inaugural World Password Day occurred in 2013, per an initiative by the software company called Intel.

World Password Day, timeline

Prior to technological advances, passwords were uncommon. They were mostly used by secret societies. For a brief timeline that shows how society moved to adopt World Password Day, see the following:

  • In 1961, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) created the computer password. The purpose? Enabling multiple individuals to use a single computer system.
  • In 1976, the emergence of public-key cryptography enabled two computer users to authenticate one another without the transfer of a cryptographic key.
  • In 1978, researchers published the first study demonstrating that guessing passwords based on a person’s identity was easier than cracking passwords with computers.
  • By 1986, two-factor authentication came onto the scene. It received a high level of adoption.
  • 2013 saw the creation of World Password Day.

When is World Password Day observed? 

The holiday occurs on the first Thursday in the month of May, every year. Organizations and individuals alike observe the holiday.

Why is World Password Day significant? 

​Data can be considered the currency of the modern world. When data is stolen, whether corporate or personal, it’s commonly sold on the dark web for a profit. But beyond lining hackers’ pockets, your organization or an individual may encounter severe fallout from pinched login credentials. This ranges from IP theft and inauthentic product clones that result in business profit losses to the inability to take out a mortgage on a home.

​Consider World Password Day a reminder to check on and update your existing passwords. For increased security, you may even want to swap out passwords every six months. Visit your online accounts. Input a new password that is stronger than your last one. Strong passwords commonly include a mixture of letters, numbers and symbols. If possible and applicable, you may also want to include both upper case and lower case letters.

How can you improve password security?

  • To avoid brute-force password cracking, the minimum password length is 13 characters. Create passwords that are at least 13 characters long.
  • Across the past five years, the top 10 most commonly used passwords have barely changed. Are you still using 12345? Ensure that your password is not on the list of most commonly used passwords.
  • Omit personal information from passwords. Avoid using your date of birth. Avoid using a street address. Avoid using names of children and pets.
  • Are your passwords unique? Avoid using your email client password for your shopping or entertainment accounts. If memorizing long strings of numbers and letters isn’t your forte, consider leveraging a password manager (although they have their drawbacks too).
  • Be sure to apply two-factor authentication to all accounts.
  • To help raise awareness regarding the importance of regularly updating passwords, send out a social media message. Add the hashtag #WorldPasswordDay.

     Other World Password Day ideas:

  • Consider hosting a password party. Get a group a colleagues, peers or friends together online. Figure out how password managers work and how to implement two-factor authentication.
  • Encourage co-workers and friends to share staggering statistics regarding password theft. This will gain attention and build momentum around World Password Day.
  • If you work in tech, leverage an influencer marketing campaign to share the message about maintaining strong password security.

Eliminating password overload

Roughly 70% of consumers maintain at least 10 online password-protected accounts. Of survey respondents, 30% reported owning “too many to count,” in regards to platforms and passwords. Weak passwords and password reuse is common due to users’ sense of password overload. How can you combat this within your organization?

  • Single sign-on software (SSO) can eliminate the need for your employees to memorize or store a large number of passwords.
  • Password management software can minimize password fatigue.
  • Password reset option can prove helpful, although sophisticated hackers have been known to impersonate users and to then hijack accounts.

Will password security recommendations change?

As technology changes and as threat actors develop increasingly sophisticated means of attack, best practices around passwords and protecting accounts may change too.

World Password Day is a reminder to celebrate strong data protection mechanisms. Passwords safeguard the vast majority of our digital information. As with physical valuables, such as passports or jewelry, we must ensure that our digital valuables are secure.