Cyberattacks that target the personal information held in our online accounts are at an all-time high. The most recent incident was the massive Yahoo breach that compromised 500 million accounts. Even Mark Zuckerburg, the creator of the most popular social media site, had his Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest accounts hacked earlier this year. (Click here to read the full story.)
It's a good thing that National Cyber Security Awareness Month is about to start. There's a new campaign that aims to educate the public on better account security habits.
The White House and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) created the "Lock Down Your Login" campaign. The NCSA says that 72 percent of Americans believe that a simple username/password combo is enough to protect their accounts. But it's not. Due to the increasing risks of cyberattacks, the campaign recommends that people begin using a third, fourth, and even fifth form of authentication.
One of the authentication methods that the campaign suggests is using one-time codes. Several banking sites do this already when you try to access your account from a different computer. After you've entered your username and password, a code is texted to your phone, which you must use immediately to access your account.
It's really convenient to set up your online accounts with the bare minimum security so that you can get into your accounts easily and do what you need to do quickly. But obviously, this carelessness makes it easier for hackers to get into your account too. If the website you're making an account for offers two-factor authentication, use it!
The campaign also suggests biometrics authentication, which is the most reliable method of security at this time. Programs that use your fingerprint, irises, or facial recognition software make it only possible for you to access your account. Since you can't get rid of these personal characteristics, it's more difficult for hackers to figure out new methods to work around this system.
To spread this critical message of online security, the government and the NCSA teamed up with over 35 companies. Master Card, Microsoft, Intel and Twitter are just a few of the companies that will be promoting the "Lock Down Your Login" campaign to their customers. Check out this little cartoon video that they are using to market the campaign.
Even though it's crucial to use authentication, using a strong password as a base is also key. But the importance of password security isn't anything new to you, we've been telling you about it for years. Still, as the NCSA noted, most people feel that their password is secure. So, check out this formula for creating a strong password and watch out for these 5 password mistakes that could make your accounts vulnerable.