Create strong passwords

Passwords are the first line of defence against cybercriminals. The stronger your password, the better protected you are. 

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Why are passwords so important?

Passwords and passphrases are used to log into any online or networked service from your personal email, online shopping and banking to logging on at work. 

Weak passwords are easy for cybercriminals to guess. There is software that can guess billions of passwords per second. If a cybercriminal guesses or steals your password they can use it to commit a host of cybercrimes including:

  • Sending emails from your accounts
  • Withdrawing money from your bank accounts
  • Accessing your accounts to share private or work files or lock you out
  • Stealing your identity.

Two-factor authentication (2FA) adds an extra layer of security to your accounts. It provides a way of ‘double-checking’ that you’re really the person you claim to be when logging into an online account. With 2FA, you need to provide two things – your password and something else such as a code sent to your mobile device or your fingerprint – before you can access your account.

Some online services will automatically prompt for a second factor when you login, while others might have to be manually activated. You will find this in the security or privacy settings of your online accounts.

Tips to help you create strong password habits 

  • Create strong passwords that are easy for you to remember but hard for others to guess 
  • Use a different password for every online account you have
  • Add an extra layer of security to your online accounts with two-factor authentication 
  • Your passwords belong to you – never share them with anyone, not even your partner, parents or children 
  • If you have staff, make sure they don't share accounts —they should all have their own accounts and passwords
  • Treat your online security like you treat your physical security – look after your password in the same way you look after your keys, phone or bank card.

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