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Data Shows the Alarming Frequency Aussies Forget Their Passwords


A study from global tech giant Cisco found that one in two Australians forget their passwords so frequently that they need to change them twice a week.

Troy Hunt, whose HaveIBeenPwned website has become the world’s most popular way for people to check if their credentials have been compromised, explained, “I think it only becomes clear after something goes wrong.”

“Now more than ever your digital life is your life.”

“Step back and ask how much of your life is now digitised? It’s crazy.”

Once hackers crack a password, particularly an email account, they can cause massive damage to someone’s finances and reputation.

Most Australians will have dozens, if not hundreds, of accounts that require usernames and passwords, including social media, online shopping, banking, and email.

The idea of making unique, strong usernames for each and then retaining them in your memory is not possible, according to Mr Hunt.

The problem with passwords

Even though passwords have been around since 1960, they are far from perfect.

It was reported by Microsoft that hackers stole passwords 921 times a second in the year to May – a rate that doubled in that year.

Passwords pose several problems:

  • A simple one can be easily guessed
  • Data leaks can lead to cyber criminals buying and selling passwords
  • Many people reuse their passwords on different services and devices
  • The scammers can prey on people’s emotions or steal their passwords using social engineering and phishing

How to create a strong password

  • Do not use your name, birthday, username, or email address. People can easily guess your password based on this type of information that is often publicly available.
  • Make your password longer. It is recommended that your password be at least six characters long, and if you want extra security, it should be even longer.
  • Keep your passwords different for each account. If someone discovers your password for one account, all of your other accounts are vulnerable as well.
  • Use both uppercase and lowercase letters, as well as numbers and symbols.
  • Words from the dictionary should be avoided. As an example, swimming1 is a weak password.
  • The strongest passwords are those that are random. Use a password generator instead if you’re having trouble creating one, or a password manager if you’re having trouble remembering them.
Ahmed Khanji

Ahmed Khanji

Ahmed Khanji is the CEO of Gridware, a leading cybersecurity consultancy based in Sydney, Australia. An emerging thought leader in cybersecurity, Ahmed is an Adjunct Professor at Western Sydney University and regularly contributes to cybersecurity conversations in Australia. As well as his extensive background as a security advisor to large Australian Enterprises, he is a regular keynote speaker and guest lecturer on offensive cybersecurity topics and blockchain.


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