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Password 101 – Our Top Tips for Staying Password Protected

2022-05-05T17:00:12+01:00

Last Updated on 5th May 2022

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Passwords are the first line of defence when it comes to protecting your personal information. Think about how many of your details are stored online. Things like your address, date of birth, credit card details, and both work and personal banking information are used for things like identification, purchases, and eligibility checks on a daily basis. That is why password protection has never been more important – especially as identity theft is on the rise.

Educating your children and young people early on good password maintenance is crucial to their online safety. It will help them learn how to protect their identity, secure their accounts, and manage their online resources for years to come. Our online safety experts put together some of our best advice, tips, and resources to help the whole family protect their accounts on games, apps, and platforms.

Did you know…

  • 90% of internet users worry about their online information getting hacked.
  • 51% of people use the same password for work and personal accounts.
  • The password ‘123456’ is used by nearly 23 million account holders.
  • ‘Eva’ and ‘Alex’ are the most commonly used names in passwords.
  • The average password contains eight characters or less.

Why are passwords important?

Children and young people may not understand the value of their personal information when they begin to interact with others in the online world. This could make them more vulnerable to scams, hackers, and malware attacks. These situations are intimidating and could expose them to scary – and sometimes threatening – interactions. It’s important to remind those in your care that passwords are the gatekeepers to our private data. They make sure these details remain secure and keep them from getting into the wrong hands.

illustration of a phone password

How can passwords be hacked?

Even our online safety experts were shocked at how unsecure their own passwords were! In today’s digital world, there are a lot of different ways hackers can get a hold of your passwords. Some of the most common ways are:

A fake or hacked account is used to send you a message with a malicious link or attachment that downloads malware (malicious software that hacks your device) or prompts you to a fake login page to input your details.
Hackers can run large volumes of previously breached passwords and data through automated software that searches account details for a match. This could find multiple accounts belonging to someone who uses the same password (which about 50% of us do).
If the hacker does not have access to your password but has your other login details (like email or username), they may try to gain access by entering the most commonly used passwords. This typically only lasts for a handful of attempts before the account is frozen.
It’s important to remember that not all hacking is virtual. Hackers can pick up passwords and PINs (Personal Identification Numbers) by overhearing or spotting important details, ‘shoulder surfing’ (watching someone put their password in), and Wi-Fi eavesdropping (intercepting public Wi-Fi networks to collect data from other users).

‘password’ was the 4th most popular password used in 2022.

Tips for a strong password

You want to make sure that every password used by those in your home is strong enough to protect them from any risk. Follow these tips to help everyone stay safe and secure online:

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Do…

  • Create a unique password for every account. Longer is stronger!
  • Change your passwords at least four times a year (one for each season).
  • Disable and clear any automatically stored passwords on your browsers.
  • Use a mixture of characters – numbers, symbols, and [email protected] Le#£rS.
  • Install a verified password manager to help you remember them securely.
wrong symbol

Don’t…

  • Reuse the same password or PIN for multiple accounts (or a similar variation of it).
  • Click or tap ‘yes’ when a website or app offers to ‘Remember your Password’.
  • Use any personal information in your password (e.g., birthdays, pet names).
  • Write down or ‘hide’ a password (e.g., behind a monitor, in a desk drawer).
  • Share your passwords with friends or family, depending on what it’s for.

Are you worried about not being able to remember a long string of numbers and symbols? Using a password manager (like 1Password) can help, but it’s also important to choose random words that are easy for you to remember and harder for others to guess, alongside a mixture of numbers and symbols. This can be anything from your favourite food to your best friend’s favourite city! Once you’ve decided, try inputting your password into this helpful tool to see just how secure it is. Take a look at some good and bad examples below!

Strong Password

Hover or tap to reveal
Password put through the website showing its a strong password

Strong Password

Hover or tap to reveal

Chocolt£PinkComputer19

Password put through the website showing its a strong password

Weak Password

Hover or tap to reveal

Alex123456

Password put through the website showing its a weak password

Weak Password

Hover or tap to reveal

password

Password put through the website showing its a weak password

Take this opportunity to check up on your password security. It may even be worth checking to see if your password details have been leaked in an online breach. Remember – your password might be the only thing keeping your important details safe. Use our further resources to help you keep it as safe as can be! 

Further resources

Password Creator Pack (for Children and Young People)
Home Learning Hub – Passwords Primary Resources
Teach Hub – Passwords Primary Resources
Download resource

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