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Passwords

The Importance of Passwords

Passwords provide protection for your personal information from unauthorized users. they protect both your devices and personal accounts.

If your passwords are accessed by an unauthorized user in your browser, that person will have access to all your saved accounts.
These accounts can include online banking, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, TikTok, Canada Revenue Agency, and Student postsecondary accounts.
Once personal accounts are accessed from an unauthorized user, they may possess your personal information and use it as blackmail.

Password Safety - Key Terms

Encryption - used to keep sensitive information unreadable; An algorithm is used to convert plaintext into code called ciphertext that cannot be read. It can be converted back to plaintext by the user with the encryption key.

Data Leak When a user’s sensitive data is exposed to the internet; Cloud leaks are an example caused by cloud data storage services exposing user’s information.

Password Manager - An application designed to store and manage passwords; The passwords stored in the application are encrypted and locked behind a master password.

Multi-Factor Authentication - (MFA) Requires users to provide two or more methods of verification to access their information.

Risks Associated With Passwords

While there are many risks associated with passwords, here are two major risks to be familiar with:

Browser-Saved Passwords

By accepting the “Save Password” prompt on your browser, you are putting your privacy at risk.

Data-Leaked Passwords

If your passwords were part of a data breach, they should not be reused to avoid privacy concerns.

Average Time to Crack an 11-Character Password

INSTANT

Password consists of only numbers

2 HOURS

Password consists of only lowercase letters

5 MONTHS

Password consists of lower and uppercase letters

3 YEARS

Password consists of numbers, lower and uppercase letters

34 YEARS

Password consists of numbers, lower and uppercase letters, and symbols

Tips and Tricks for Protecting Passwords

1

Always enable Multi-Factor Authentication

Pros:

Added security for compromised passwords
Reliable protection when using weak passwords

Cons:

Some require a smartphone
Can impede productivity

2

Use Password Managers

Pros:

Most secure way to store passwords, requires strong password
Convenient, only requires remembering a master password
Some scan the dark web to see if your passwords appear online

Cons:

Hackers can gain access to all passwords
Some require purchase

3

Check if your email is in a Data Breach

Pros:

Can use websites to see if your email or password has appeared in a data breach

Cons:

Could still be at risk even if it cannot find your information in a breach
Inconvenient to check all passwords and accounts

4

Use Strong Passwords

Pros:

Security significantly increases with the strength of password
Safeguarding passwords adds another layer of security

Cons:

Difficult to remember
Inconvenient to change password frequently and follow recommended steps for protecting passwords

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