Do you use the same password across all of your online accounts or share personal details via email? If so, you’re not alone. A new survey from the Government’s Cyber Aware campaign and global information services company Experian has revealed over half of respondents (52%) aged 18-25 and 27% of respondents from all age groups reuse their email password across multiple accounts. More worryingly, over three quarters (79%) of all Britons surveyed with an email account have sent personal information – such as their address or bank details – over email.
As our lives are increasing lived online – whether learning, shopping, buying a home, job-hunting or dating – keeping our online space secure is more crucial than ever. It’s the old adage applied to the digital age - you wouldn’t leave your house open for a burglar, so why give criminals an open invitation to your inbox and your personal information.
Cyber Aware’s new #OneReset campaign aims to highlight how the UK public’s email passwords are leaving their accounts wide open to hackers. A weak password coupled with the ‘treasure trove’ of information in your email can be used to access many of your personal accounts, by asking for your passwords to be reset, and by exploiting your personal information, such as your bank details, address or date of birth, leaving you vulnerable to identity theft or fraud. That’s why Cyber Aware’s #OneReset campaign is encouraging people to consider adding a simple cyber reset to their existing list of ‘life changes’.
And we all know how much 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 taking the plunge to get 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 a worrying 8% of those surveyed wanted to improve their cyber security.
However 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 using three random words to create a strong password and where available using two-factor authentication 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 reset you can take now to make a big difference to your cyber security. This could help protect you from being the latest victim of cyber crime.
For advice on simple ways to be more secure online, visit the Cyber Aware website.