It’s quite hard to believe, but a recent study found the average UK consumer to have a whopping 118 different accounts registered online. That includes social media profiles as well as accounts with e-retailers, gaming services, email providers and even banks.
For each one of these accounts, you probably have a username and a password; both of which act as keys to all of the valuable personal information contained behind the login page. If you live by the security experts’ book, every password will be complex and impossible to guess. Perhaps more importantly, though, they’re supposed to be different.
That, many will argue, is too big an ask for the ultra-busy consumer of today. With the only other option to keep a lengthy list of all known login details – itself impractical and unsafe – most of us resign to using the same password to protect multiple services. This, however, makes it easier for hackers to attack. It means all they have to do is break through one site’s barriers to gain access to all of your accounts.
Embrace two-factor authentication where you can
The best way to stay safe, then? We must decrease our reliance on passwords altogether.
It’s time we removed the blinkers and realised just how many viable alternatives there are to the humble password. With the threat of hacking continuing to grow with every technological advancement, experts have developed various new ways to protect your data – now is the time to use them!
We’re talking here about innovations like two-factor authentication, single-use codes and the use of physical devices, like mobile phones. Google has already adopted the last of these methods and the organisation probably owns one or two of those 118 accounts you have. This involves Gmail and Google Docs users (among others) pulling down the notification bar at the top of their smartphone screen to log in via the device’s operating system – something to which a hacker wouldn’t have access.
It might take some time before people feel safe enough to stop using passwords altogether, but it’s clear to see that this is the direction in which we’re moving.