Passwords & Authentication

Dear Readers,

I hope that everyone is well and enjoying some of the spring sunshine. I find the increased daylight very uplifting and gives me more energy for the day.

If you have been listening to the radio, you may have heard “adverts” from the government explaining how to stay “safe” online. The two I have heard are regarding passwords made up of three words and multi factor / two factor authentication.

The advertising campaign by the government is asking individuals to use stronger passwords so it is harder for fraudsters to guess passwords and secondly, asking businesses, especially financial institutions, to implement multi-factor / two factor authentication.

Three Word Passwords

Thinking of passwords is difficult, especially as many passwords need to have a letter, digits, upper case, lower case, and a special character. Many people write complex passwords down as they don’t want to “forget” the password and go through a password retrieval process that is usually cumbersome and relies on other information that may not be in hand.

Three-word passwords made up of words of your choosing may be easier to remember. Additionally, it will be a longer password and so harder for fraudsters to “guess”. If the website you are using wants to enforce digits and special characters, then you will need to think of your own strategy for doing that. I have one, but I’m not going to tell you what it is!

An example of a good three-word password might be: “PinkTedFCharlie99!”.

As a suggestion, make three-word passwords fun and something that you will remember as they relate to something personal to you.

Multi-Factor/Two-Factor Authentication

The government has asked banks to implement additional authentication when you make a financial transaction. This is so that if someone did get your bank login details, it would be much harder for them to transfer money to other accounts.

The banks tw0 factor authentication will usually be a code sent to your mobile telephone via text (SMS) message or by asking you to authenticate the transaction using the banking APP on your telephone if you have the app installed.

Personally, I like the above two measures. Firstly, because I find it easier to remember three-word passwords that I have made up from my own memories rather than system generated passwords that I will never remember. Two factor authentication gives me confidence that if someone did manage to login to my bank account, then I would be notified by a text message or the app.

Stay safe,

Lord Squeaky