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How to make your online accounts safer while working from home

By Liu Hongzuo - on 15 May 2020, 1:08pm

How to make your online accounts safer while working from home

Kaspersky's Password Checker. (Please don't use an actual password to check).

Working from home and abiding by circuit breaker measures would lead to spending a more considerable amount of your average day online. This would also mean that our digital presence takes higher precedence, and our Internet selves are - as you might've guessed - partly defined by the accounts we have and the passwords that protect them.

The strength of your online accounts' passwords is one key to protecting oneself when surfing the web. However, strong passwords tend to be harder to memorise, and that's further complicated by how passwords are the most common method of online authentication, and the need to change them regularly to keep accounts safe.

Getting creative with passwords only solves a small part of the problem. Kaspersky's handy Password Checker tool demonstrates how quickly it takes for a password to be cracked using brute-force methods. A password of 'password' takes less than a second to crack, while something like 'correcthorsebatterystaple' from XKCD's webcomic on password strength would take 892,000 years before it's compromised via brute-force.

A chart on user methods used to store or remember passwords. Source: Kaspersky's Defending Digital Privacy Report 2020.

According to Kaspersky's privacy report 2020, 55% of users surveyed claim that they remember all their passwords for their online accounts. Kaspersky believes that it's quite improbable to do so if those passwords all meet the minimum requirements of uniqueness and complexity while changing passwords on the regular. A surprising 19% keep passwords written down on a file or document on a computer, while 18% do the same on mobile devices and computers.

Cute passwords or otherwise, most online users should still find ways to ensure that their accounts are not exposed. The cybersecurity company recommends independent tools like haveibeenpwned.com to see if your email address or passwords were compromised during their existence.

These options - be it password checkers or email address checkers - are only some of many ways to manage your cybersecurity via your fingertips. Alternatives include using a password manager or limiting the number of online accounts to the bare essentials.

Photo by Edward Jenner on Pexels.

If you're looking for ways to strengthen your online accounts, don't forget to check out our guide on creating stronger passwords that are harder to crack, and some basics on digital defence that almost anybody can implement. A few quick cybersecurity tips we can apply while we attend to other household chores are:

  • Backing up your devices
  • Updating them to the latest firmware or operating system version
  • Avoiding the need to click on every single URL sent your way

In the meantime, stay safe - physically and online.