Do you use the same password across all your online accounts or share personal details via email? If so, you’re not alone, but it's a habit you need to break.
A new survey from the government’s Cyber Aware campaign and global information services company Experian has revealed that more than half of respondents (52%) aged 18-25 and 27% of respondents from all age groups reuse their email password across multiple accounts. This leaves them vulnerable to hackers.
More worryingly, over three quarters (79%) of all Britons with an email account who were surveyed have sent personal information – such as their address or bank details – over email.
As our lives are increasing lived online – whether learning, keeping up with friends, shopping, buying a home, job-hunting or dating – keeping our online space secure is crucial.
You wouldn’t leave your house open for a burglar, so why give criminals an open invitation to your inbox and all the personal information contained in it?
A simple cyber reset
Cyber Aware’s new #OneReset campaign aims to highlight how weak passwords are leaving email accounts wide open to hackers. Criminals who gain access to your emails can rifle through a treasure trove of information that can be used to access many of your other personal accounts.
By exploiting your personal information, such as your bank details, address or date of birth, cyber criminals can steal your identity or commit fraud.
This is why Cyber Aware’s #OneReset campaign is encouraging people to consider adding a simple cyber reset to their existing list of life changes.
Sometimes we crave a lifestyle change - a pause to reflect while we take a closer look at a particular aspect of our life we might want to ‘reset’. Whether that’s getting to grips with our finances or embracing healthy eating. Cyber Aware and Experian’s survey highlighted the most popular resets - improving fitness levels (48%), eating a healthier diet (41%), getting more sleep (37%), gaining control of finances (25%) and even changing hair colour (14%).
People might worry about cyber security, but the reality is that doing something about it is often bottom of the list.
Only 8% of those surveyed wanted to improve their cyber security.
How you can take action
The good news is that it’s simple to take action to help protect you and your family online by ensuring you have a strong and separate password for your email account.
Tips for a strong email password include:
- Use three random words as your password
- Use two-factor authentication, where available, on your email account
So, next time you consider the areas of your life most in need of a reset, reflect on how important your personal data is and the simple action you can take now to make a big difference to your cyber security and prevent you falling victim to cyber crime.