Are your Accounts and Personal Data Secure?

    The average person has at least ten digital accounts and we typically use t...

    By Divy Patel Updated

    The average person has at least ten digital accounts and we typically use the same password or a slight variation for each. This is problematic because it means our accounts and the data they hold – for banking, paying bills, communications, entertainment, and everything in between – are not as secure as we think. But thanks to technology, there are several other ways we can add additional security to our accounts such as varying forms of authentication.

    Password-based authentication

    Using a password to gain access to an account or app is the most widely used form of authentication. Passwords typically comprise a number of letters, numbers, and characters such as exclamation marks or full stops. The site or app you are using will generally specify whether to use special characters and an overall length. The problem with passwords is that people are not often very creative when they think of them.

    The world’s most common passwords are ‘123456’, ‘qwerty’ ‘password,’ and the user’s name and date of birth. This really informative blog from ExpressVPN gives you the rundown of some of the world’s most common passwords, giving readers a good idea of what not to use. When choosing a password, you should make the letters obscure and the date. While this makes it harder to remember, it does lessen the risk that someone might guess your password and access your accounts without permission.

    Biometric authentication

    Biometric authentication is a form of personal verification that uses biometrics such as fingerprint, iris scan, facial recognition, or voice recognition. It uses these markers because each is completely unique and very difficult to fake. As long as the technology scanning and analyzing these markers are up to date, then these can be very effective forms of verification.

    Most of us are familiar with such methods as we use fingerprints on our mobile phones and sometimes even facial scanners. This kind of technology is constantly being improved and is set to be a more significant part of our lives in the future. For example, electric cars will only start with a fingerprint from the registered owner or authorized user.

    Multi-factor authentication

    As the name suggests, multi-factor authentication is a process whereby the user must provide two or more pieces of evidence that they are who they say they are. For example, an application may require them to input the password online and then a fingerprint on their mobile device. It could be a password plus inputting a code sent to mobile or being asked to input your postcode after making an online payment.

    The idea is that only the authenticated user would have access to the device and/or that information. Therefore, if someone guessed the first password, they would be unable to progress due to not passing the second stage of authentication. As more and more of our lives go online, it is essential we learn how to take steps to protect ourselves and our personal information. These solutions are available to most of us. As they do not require additional costs or complex procedures, no one using digital services should go without that crucial additional security.