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Campaign to improve password strength launched

13 June 2017 - 10:01 by Mike Price

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A new scheme designed to draw attention to the subpar passwords which many people choose to protect their web-based accounts has been launched in the US, with security specialists at BehavioSec pointing out that poor habits can lead to major breaches.

AOL reports that the campaign is being run in conjunction with an animal welfare charity, since plenty of users pick their pet’s name as their password. Because most pet names are fairly common, industry insiders have set out to select obscure names which are harder to hack but also easy to remember.

When hackers attempt to compromise accounts, they often make use of a brute force approach in which they try to log in with the most common words, phrases and names that average users may have selected. If a common pet name is chosen, this leaves innocent consumers up for exploitation by malicious third parties.

Experts advise that security-conscious web users who want to carry out safe shopping online and fend off hackers should name their pets with this in mind. Choosing names based on figures from history, fictional characters and even fairytale creatures is a good idea.

It is hoped that by drawing attention to bad password creation habits, people will think more carefully about the words they use.

Other advice for formulating a strong password includes the use of random numbers and symbols throughout, replacing letters in the chosen word so that it is still memorable without being vulnerable to hacking.

A growing number of high profile breaches have put cybercrime at the top of the agenda for many businesses and organisations, but for individual consumers there may still be a degree of complacency surrounding security. Campaigns like this help to reinforce good habits for safe shopping online while highlighting threats which should not be ignored.