When was the last time you changed your password?

Did you know that most people use the same password and username across up to seven different accounts?

The most hacked passwords contain 12345,” “123456,” “123456789,” “abc123,” “1111111,” and even the term “password.” If you have ever used these combinations in a password this article will help you create more robust and safer passwords.

We all know that password security is so important when dealing with cybercrime. However, people are not taking it seriously enough! Good password hygiene is a security practice everyone can implement to protect themselves from cybercriminals. Password hygiene is creating passwords that are difficult to guess and unique for each account. It also includes avoiding passwords that are easy to recall like the ones mentioned above and keeping your passwords private. Cybercriminals that obtain your password, can access your personal information leading to monetary loss and identity theft in many cases.

Common ways cybercriminals steal passwords

  • Guessing- if your password is too simple a scammer may be able to guess it. If your password consists of personal information, such as your birthday or name itself, someone who has access to your social media may be able to guess it.
  • Brute force- A software program designed to hack passwords, which can confirm simple passwords in just minutes. However, longer passwords with a combination of upper/lower case and symbols will be much trickier for a computer program to hack.
  • Manipulation /Social Engineering- encompasses a wide range of tactics whereby individuals are manipulated into giving up their confidential information. Similarly known as Phishing and baiting.
  • Website hack- if a website experiences a data breach, your information could be leaked. If this does happen, you must change your password straight away. If you have used the same password for other accounts, you must change them too.

An example of this is when you receive an email from what looks like a reputable organisation, for example, a bank with a link to verify your account. By clicking on the link and entering your password, you are unknowingly giving over your password information to a scammer.

That is why your bank will never contact you via email or text asking you to verify your details

”At BankVic we are committed to supporting our members and their security. We offer passwords of up to 30 characters and they must include a combination of alpha and numeric, upper and lower case characters. We would never ask our customers to confirm personal information via email”

BankVic CIO, Shane Kuret

Ways to implement good password hygiene and protect your accounts

  •  Avoid reusing passwords- even if it is a strong password, you must use different passwords for each account. If you do not, you can make it easier for scammers to hack into more than one account.
  • Use two-factor authentication- this involves a two-step process to login into an account. You receive a one-time password via phone or email to verify it is you accessing the account.
  • Use a password manager- this will help to create strong passwords and store them so that you only need to remember one password to access the password manager.
  • Use a personal and work email account- it is a clever idea not to mix your email and work email accounts. Having one email account could result in a big data loss if you are hacked by a scammer.
  • Use antivirus and malware software- on all devices. Ensure you regularly update these applications to keep the protection current.

When thinking about making your passwords as hard as possible to crack, using a paraphrase that is easy to remember could be a smart idea. For example, a quote, including lower case, upper case, symbols, and numbers would meet complexity requirements. Password hacking tools break down at 10 characters!

By applying these simple password hygiene practices, you will make it extremely hard for a cybercriminal to hack into your account.

Now change your passwords if you have not done so in the last 3 months!

Crime Stoppers Victoria acknowledges and pays respect to the past, present and future Traditional Custodians and Elders of this nation and the continuation of cultural, spiritual and educational practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Crime Stoppers Victoria (ABN 15 006 945 151) is endorsed as a Deductible Gift Recipient. Donations of $2 or more to Crime Stoppers Victoria are tax deductible in Australia.
Scroll to Top