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Are you password perfect? It’s as easy as pie

Every year New Zealanders lose millions of dollars and private information as a result of using weak passwords or resuing passwords across multiple accounts. Last year, tech publication ZDNet listed ‘123456’ , ‘password’ and ‘12345678’ as some of the worst passwords used in 2020.

It’s not uncommon to have 20 or more online accounts and it can be a challenge coming up with new passwords that are easy to remember and easy to use (sometimes typing all those random letters and symbols when entering your password takes so long you’ve forgotten why you were logging-in in the first place!).

CERT NZ recommends that all passwords are long, strong and unique, but there’s no need to try and tackle one of those complex combinations of letters, symbols and numbers. Opt for a passphrase instead to create the perfect password.

A passphrase is four or more random words. It could be a fun phrase or silly sentence, for example, ‘stevecatplumberman or just list a bunch of stuff that’s around you, ‘staplemousebatterybag’. These passwords pass the test because they are long (15 or more characters) and just as strong as a complex password. They’re also much easier to remember and use.

Your passwords need to be unique too, meaning use a different password for each online account. If an attacker gets access to one of your accounts, they’ll often try that same password on your other accounts too. So if you have a different password on each account, the attacker won’t get far.

How you store your passwords is another key step to being password perfect. If you aren’t using one already, keep your data safe with a password manager
(https://www.cert.govt.nz/individuals/guides/keep-your-data-safe-with-a-password-manager/)