Google has published a number of tips on how to travel the Internet more securely. These are password security advice that everyone gets – and best of all – should. The security of your own accounts is such a thing. The more accounts you own, the more passwords accumulate. How should you remember them all? We are all faced with this annoying problem. Google’s suggestions for more secure use of passwords and accounts on the web are simple and aimed at everyone. Savvy users will only smile wearily at the tips, while others still use bad passwords – the same for multiple accounts.
When framed the tips by a study that the company has carried out in cooperation with the Agency Walnut. In total, 4,003 people were interviewed during the 10-minute online survey in October 2019. Only the sample of participants from the United Kingdom was sufficient for a nationally representative survey. The opinion from France, Germany, and Spain is accordingly not representative but nevertheless reflects certain tendencies. For example, 29 percent of respondents said it was frustrating to forget important passwords, and it was annoying to have many passwords to keep track of (32 percent). After all, 50 percent said they would use a tool to create and manage secure passwords. This gives them the opportunity to generate their own unique password for each account. Nonetheless, many would still resort to unsafe methods to avoid password juggling. More than 30 percent of Germans surveyed said they still scribble passwords on paper – and a massive 70 percent use the same password for multiple accounts. It should be clear to everyone that this type of password usage is not at all secure. Among German respondents, 37 percent would change their password every six months. This value is higher than in other countries, according to Google. By comparison, only 20 percent of British respondents change their passwords within the same time frame.
Due to the frequent change of passwords, a majority of German respondents – a respectable 88 percent (in France it is 63 percent) – are convinced that their passwords and thus accounts are protected. The knowledge that the regular password change is not a safe solution should be more widespread than it is, unfortunately.Google recommends the following tips for securing your accounts, which are not rocket science, but unfortunately, are often not heeded:
- Each account should be secured with its own password. For easier management and creation uses a password manager. There are plenty of choices like 1Password, Lastpass, Enpass, Keepass, Google’s Chrome password manager and many other recommended solutions.
- To verify that your account passwords are still secure, you should regularly check the passwords. For this Google offers a tool, but other tools like Mozilla’s Firefox Monitor and “Have I been pwned?” Help you to check if your account has been hacked.
- The lock screen of devices should always be on to prevent access by unauthorized third parties. (Without activated lock screen you can not use Google’s pay service Google Pay, for example.)
- Use an email address or phone number for account recovery.
- The software on your laptops and smartphones should always be up to date. (Google publishes security patches for Android every month that protect the OS, and some manufacturers deliver patches to their devices on a monthly basis, some on a quarterly basis, some not at all.)
- Secure your accounts with two-factor authentication (2FA). Either you use the way via text message or app code of an authentication app. It is even safer via the USB security key.
Incidentally, since 2017 Google has been backing up the accounts by default to a physical USB security key as an alternative to the password or one-time codeword. Since the introduction of the 2FA authentication method, none of the more than 85,000 employees have had a successful phishing case.