A third of all pet parents have used the name of their pet as a password.

We all know that “123” or “password” as the password is not the right choice to protect your personal data and accounts but switching to the pet’s name that you probably post also on social media? Come on! Not a good idea.

A Boston-based cyber security company, Aura, finds families vulnerable online. They provide intelligent safety for consumers, and introduced a public safety awareness campaign encouraging families to bolster their online safety habits. Marking the start of National Pet Month and World Password Day on May 5, they have released new data that found more than one-third (39%) of American pet parents have used their pet’s name as part of their password for an online account. That stat rises to 1 in 2 (50%) among pet parents between 35-44 years old. Through this campaign, Aura aims to highlight to families that while using a pet’s name as a password may be a show of love and an easy-to-remember access code to your online life, pet passwords are some of the easiest for cybercriminals to guess.

Source: aura.com

What is a strong password?

There are two common types of recommendations.

The one method is a long random collection of characters like in this description:

A strong password consists of at least 12 characters (and the more characters, the stronger the password) that are a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols (@, #, $, %, etc.) if allowed. Passwords are typically case-sensitive, so a strong password contains letters in both uppercase and lowercase.

There are also recommendations to combine words to a phrase that you can easily remember, like this below.

An example (please don’t use exactly this) of a strong password is “3Funny-donkeys-jump-10!-FoOt-hiGh”. It is long and contains uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. It is easy to remember. Strong passwords should not contain personal information.

Is a strong password enough to protect your accounts? No, you also need what is called a habit of cyber-hygiene. In case you have malware on your computer the best password in the world does not help because the malware might read the password when you enter it or store it on your computer and sends it to the attackers.

What is Cyber-Hygiene?

Cyber hygiene is a couple of different habitual practices to ensure the safe handling of your data and securing of your networks. Compare it if you like with your personal hygiene, where you develop a routine of small, distinct activities to prevent or mitigate health problems.

8 Basic Rules Of Cyber-Hygiene:

  • Step 1: Install antivirus and malware software
  • Step 2: Use network firewalls
  • Step 3: Update software regularly
  • Step 4: Set strong passwords
  • Step 5: Use multi-factor authentication
  • Step 6: Employ device encryption
  • Step 7: Back up regularly
  • Step 8: Keep your hard drive clean
  • There are many more rules but these are at least some basic rules.

Separating devices by money-related activities from the normal online usage

Another consideration is to use more than one device. For example, because most cyber-criminals go after your money, you might separate the devices. One device for online banking and Amazon shopping and no other usage on this machine like email or internet browsing. Then a second device for all other activities where you never enter personal data like banking or credit card information. Still, you need to follow the principles of cyber hygiene to lower your risk on all devices.

Overall, unfortunately, there is no guarantee of not being attacked since the criminals are always attacking with new tools and technologies but that also means not being careless. Keep yourself informed and update your security methods if necessary. Watch out for new trends in Cybercrime and protecting your data.

Since Cybercrime and Online-Safety are complex topics, the above recommendations are just an educational example and definitely not complete and do not fit everybody’s needs. Please consult professionals in digital protection and online safety to assess your personal needs in cyber defense measures.

Above mentioned statistics were provided by AURA a provider of intelligent safety solutions.

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