Computer password

Stem the leak: 87% of South Africans think up their own passwords and more than half don’t know how to check if they have been compromised

The latest Kaspersky report, ‘Defending digital privacy: Taking personal protection to the next level’, has found that 87% of South African users are thinking up their own passwords, while 72% say they are unaware about how to check if any of their credentials have already been leaked. This highlights the need for storing passwords more securely.

Passwords are the most common method of authentication, but they only work if they are hard to crack and confidential. And with an increasing number of applications requiring them, it can be hard to come up with new ideas for complex passwords and keep them all in your mind – especially when users may be required to change their passwords regularly.

In addition to this challenge of creativity for users, it’s becoming more vital to store passwords securely and look out for possible instances when these credentials could be leaked.

According to Kaspersky’s report, 63% of local users claim they remember all of their passwords  which can be difficult if security requirements such as password complexity and uniqueness are to be satisfied. Furthermore, 10% keep them written in a file or document stored on their computer, while 18% use the browsers on their computers, smartphones, or tablets to store their passwords.

Methods that local consumers use to store or remember their passwords

However, there are some ways to check if your password has been leaked. For instance, services such as Have I Been Pwned? maintain a database where users can check if their passwords have been included in public leaks or data breaches without visiting the sketchier parts of the web.

“Consumers can monitor the spread of personal data, including which passwords might have been leaked. And this is not only for the sake of “just being aware”; it also allows individuals to take the right action to minimise any invasion of privacy – along with any wider consequences. That’s why we at Kaspersky put a big focus on protecting consumer’s privacy,” comments Marina Titova, Head of Consumer Product Marketing at Kaspersky.

To ensure the safety of personal data, Kaspersky recommends users:

  • Minimise the number of people you share account login information with and never leave passwords where others might find them – be it on paper or on a device. Keeping them on sticky notes or a pad might be tempting, but it will also be just as easy for others to access things you don’t want them to
  • Try using Kaspersky Secure Password Check. The service allows you to check how strong your password is, and how long it will take to crack it
  • Use strong and robust passwords generated by a reliable security solution like Kaspersky Password Manager. This will produce secure, unique passwords for each account every time and help you resist the temptation to re-use the same password more than once
  • Find out if any passwords used to access online accounts have been compromised. The Account Check feature within Kaspersky Security Cloud allows users to check their accounts for potential data leaks. If one is detected, the solution provides information about the categories of data that may be publicly accessible so that the individual affected can take the appropriate action

For more advice on how to keep your personal information protected and to read the report in full, visit the link.

About Kaspersky

Kaspersky is a global cybersecurity company founded in 1997. Kaspersky’s deep threat intelligence and security expertise is constantly transforming into innovative security solutions and services to protect businesses, critical infrastructure, governments and consumers around the globe. The company’s comprehensive security portfolio includes leading endpoint protection and a number of specialized security solutions and services to fight sophisticated and evolving digital threats. Over 400 million users are protected by Kaspersky technologies and we help 250,000 corporate clients protect what matters most to them. Learn more at www.kaspersky.co.za.

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