Would You Take the Pledge for More Password Security?

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Did you observe National Password Day on May 3, 2018? It was an interesting day for password-related news. First, Twitter pushed a password reset for more than 330 million users and took that opportunity to underscore the risks of reusing passwords on multiple sites.

Second, in observation of the day, Nutella tweeted that “Nutella” might be a password that’s easy to remember and close to your heart. This ill-advised comment sent data security experts diving for password checkers like haveibeenpwned.com, which lists 20,833 instances of the chocolate/hazelnut spread’s name on lists of compromised passwords.

Layer Up

For this year’s annual observation, Password Day organizers urged folks to “layer up” and help boost their online security. Layering up means adding a second step to your routine login methods. Two-factor authentication (2FA) combines your username and password with something that only you have. It could be your fingerprint or a one-time code sent to your smartphone.

If you would like more help in setting up 2FA, check out Turn It On, a free online 2FA tutorial with step-by-step instructions. The Electronic Frontier Foundation also offers advice.

Take the Pledge

Password Day organizers established a pledge to get people to commit to adding strong authentication to their passwords. To add a touch of friendly competition, they created a map that shows the 50 states by the percentage of individuals living there who signed the Password Day pledge.

Wyoming currently has the most pledges even though it ranks in the bottom third in the nation for identity theft and account fraud, according to the Consumer Sentinel Network. South Dakota, Alabama, and Virginia are close behind with pledges, further down the list are Florida and Michigan, two states frequently in the top five when it comes to reported identity theft and account fraud.

The Companies

Some companies with huge online visibility already support 2FA, including Gmail, Facebook, and Dropbox. Learn more about the organizations that offer a version of 2FA, or ask a business you frequent to increase their password security by browsing twofactorauth.org. The list of websites that support layering up is full of surprises and helpful suggestions.

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