Why strong, unique passwords are important

With all the recent news of widespread corporate security breaches, creating a unique password for each of your accounts can be paramount in ensuring that if your password gets stolen, it cannot be used to gain access to your other accounts.   

Hackers are cunning creatures, always on the lookout for security vulnerabilities, and weak or stolen passwords remain their primary point of entry.  If you use your password for multiple accounts (even if you have the longest, strongest password in the world), you are putting yourself at risk for a significant hack if just one of the services you subscribe to experiences a security breach. 

EXAMPLE 

Let’s say you use your McGill password to log in to Facebook as well.  If Facebook experiences a security breach and user credentials are compromised (which has occurred multiple times), this not only makes your Facebook data vulnerable, but all accounts that use your McGill password. 

Picture this: 

  1. Hackers obtain your password from Facebook. 
  2. They log into your account and now have access to everything you share. 
  3. If you have listed your workplace, as many of us do, guess where the hacker is going to attack next?     

Facebook profile

Now your personal data, as well as McGill protected data has been compromised.  It’s that simple! 

Just imagine the damage that could ensue if you use the same password for your bank, email, and other social accounts.  Scary right?   

Now that you understand the importance of creating unique passwords, it’s time to exercise some cyber-hygiene!  Here are a few tips to help you “brush up” on password security: 

Treat your password like a toothbrush.  Don't share it.  Choose a good one.  Don't recycle an old one.  Choose a unique McGill password to be used only with your McGill username.

Strong and unique passwords are just one important part of staying safe online.  To add an additional layer of protection to your account, you should also enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA), which is now available for your McGill account. 

Privacy is our shared responsibility and we must take additional measures to keep our information secure. 

WANT TO GET CYBER-SAVVY THIS FALL? 

Register now for IT Security Awareness Essentials training. This self-paced course for students, faculty, and staff, available via myCourses, includes a set of short educational videos and games on IT security.   

Already registered?  Access the course.   

First time participant?  Log in into myCourses and click Register on the right side of the page, under Self-Registration courses

Be on the lookout for IT Services staff on campus at numerous venues throughout Frosh week and during Cybersecurity Awareness Month in October.  We’ll be raising awareness, encouraging IT Security best practices, and we just might have some goodies for you!  Stop by and ask us anything!