Protecting your data 

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Unlike more traditional insurance schemes, the use of a password can offer free protection insurance.

My apologies for the subject matter of this next report. I know that the word "Password" can bring on a range of different effects, some of which are not too pleasant, when certain people come across the word as those. like myself, struggle to remember the password required to give access to data or a particular service..  For some the mere mention of "Password" can have the effect of bringing them out in a cold sweat as they try to dredge their memories for that vital password that is doing its best to block their attempts to access a particular service or data storage necessary to continue unhindered with their computing activities.  While other rest easy as they appreciate the effect of the password offering an added layer of protection safeguarding their personal and financial computer data.

Along with its ability to offer protection and sometimes cause degrees of discomfort, a password has a third prong to its functionality that really appeals to a particular sector of society.  If the password is not strong to fulfil its basic function, it can provide an almost open door approach for hackers and other less scrupulous members of society an opportunity as they attempt to gain unauthorised access to the data of others. 

Recent research indicates that weak passwords are one of the most common cyber security vulnerabilities making their presence felt during 2019.  The leading two features were down to phishing scams followed by a lack of cyber security training undertaken by firms.  A weak password was rated third by experts for causing problems and being responsible for 30% of ransomeware infections detected during this period.

So what that is this information leading up to.  Actually it concerns some worrying information gleaned from research and surveys conducted by various organisations.  I have to thank, Mail Protection Service, Google and Statista for providing the impetus for this report and encouraging me to strength any passwords I was using to protect my data.

It may come as a surprise to some, but then again maybe not, to discover that over 23 million users, or should that be abusers, from all parts of the world, used the open-door password of "123456".  A further 7.8 million "more security conscious" people opted to go with "12345678" as a lock for their personal data.  To these figures (no pun intended) can be added the 3.5 million that laid out the "welcome mat" for everybody as they selected the word "password" to protect access to their sensitive information.

And what about "everyman and his dog" who believed "QWERTY" was the ideal protection to keep intruders at bay or those that insisted on using the same password for every eventuality.  According to a Google survey, conducted last year (2019), regarding the online security beliefs and behaviours of users, two out of three of those questioned made use of the same password across a multitude of accounts.  More than 50% admitted to using one favourite password for the majority of their accounts thus greatly increasing the risk of their data being access and used by those not entitled to do so.  Maybe they should consider using "LAZY" as their choice of password.

While I do not mean to preach or offer precise guidance in this matter, the only person who can do anything to ensure you are not part of these worrying figures, is yourself.  You need to device a system that suits your needs, maybe make use of a password manager, and protect your data from the actions of those who intend you harm in various ways.  You might even consider crossing your fingers as an extra layer of protection.

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