Protect your online accounts these Christmas holidays

With Christmas online shopping well underway, it’s no surprise that hackers are out and about trying to scam holiday shoppers left, right and centre. Many online retailers require you to create an account in order to purchase your goods. This may encourage you to recycle your passwords across these accounts, but you should think twice before taking the easy route.

There are cyber-attacks taking place in Australia every eight minutes, with over 67,500 cybercrimes being reported and losses totalling $33 billion in the last financial year. With this growth, there is greater risk in having your online accounts targeted in a cyber-attack. If your password is stolen, a cybercriminal can wreak havoc on your life by sending emails from your online accounts, withdraw money from your banking services and even stealing your identity. The risk of this activity is higher if you use the same password across multiple accounts. According to Trend Micro research only 1 in 3 Australians change generic passwords on their devices. This is alarming as changing passwords on your devices and online accounts is of utmost importance. The reason for this is simple: once the hacker is in one account, it will be easier for them to hack into the rest of your online life.

Ensure you have proactive password management protocols in place so you don’t get caught out this festive season. Below are some tips to assist you in keeping your passwords secure:

  • Do NOT use the same password for multiple accounts such as banking, social media or online retailer sites. PIN and passcodes should also be different across devices.
  • Create a long, strong and unique password by not using any personal information (such as a name, birthdate, address or pet names).
  • Stay away from common passwords such as “password” or “1234567890”. These are very easy for hackers to crack!
  • Do not share your password with others, whether they be family or friends; always keep your passwords to yourself.
  • Consider using a passphrase instead of a password. Passphrases are stronger than passwords and are harder to crack if a malicious entity were to hack into your account. It is recommended to create your passphrase with four or more random words (or at least 14 characters).
  • If you notice anyone trying to log in to your online accounts or think someone has accessed your account without your permission, change your password immediately.
  • Use a password manager, like Trend Micro Password Manager – this will not only help you protect and manage your passwords but will also help you create long, strong and tough-to-crack passwords for any other accounts. Trend Micro Password Manager is available as part of Trend Micro Device Security.
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