Gizmodo has deemed February 1 as “International Change Your Password Day,” ostensibly to promote valuable cybersecurity awareness, but likely also to help with a recent push for increased page views throughout the Gawker network.
I’ll re-title it “Universal Change Your Password Day,” as hopefully any other civilizations throughout the cosmos who happen to be monitoring our activities value fundamental cybersecurity principles as well.
While I’m sure some students and employees at Boise State may argue otherwise, we’re lucky to enforce a password policy requiring 90-day password resets for common University systems. Unlike several banks, your Facebook account, personal Gmail account, or Amazon.com account, you must regularly change your University password(s).
But, I’ll wager many of you haven’t changed your Amazon, email, Facebook or financial institution passwords in years. And, that you use the same password for several of those services, meaning if one person somehow obtained your Facebook password, your Amazon or bank password could be had as well.
How secure are those passwords you’re using for your personal accounts?
To further lay on the guilt, how many of your smartphones/tablets are password-protected? (Answer: Not many; I’ve seen you use your smartphones and tablets.) If you forget your iPhone at a restaurant, or your Android device is left behind at a meeting, how easily can someone read your email or otherwise view your personal info?
So take the time to reset your passwords; if not today, than this week. Make sure they’re strong (e.g., avoid using dictionary words, your last name and birthday, telephone number, street address, “password,” “123456,” etc.). Don’t use the same password for different services. Set a passcode on your phone or tablet.
Helpful info on creating strong passwords that aren’t impossible to remember can be found here.
Be vigilant, and protect your cyberlife!
P.S. Check out helpful Information Security Awareness tips from the University’s Information Security Services department.