Mount residents protect themselves from cyber attacks

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Mount Maunganui citizens learned how to getstronger passwords and protect themselves from cyber-criminals. Photo/file
Mount Maunganui citizens learned how to getstronger passwords and protect themselves from cyber-criminals. Photo/file

Mount Maunganui residents are on the way to getting stronger passwords and protecting themselves from cyber-criminals.

On Saturday members of the Project Password cyber-safety campaign visited Mount Maunganui to test the strength of people's passwords.

There was approximately 108 cyber-attacks per day in New Zealand, according to tech company Symantec.

Using a secure site, Mount locals tested how long it would take for a computer to break their passwords and showed why cyber-attacks were so prevalent.

"Most passwords took only a few minutes to an hour for a cyber-criminal to hack," Kaydee Dobson, member of the Project Password campaign, said.

These cyber-attacks could lead to stolen money, identity theft and the loss of private information, Project Password said in a press release.

"Unique and strong passwords were one of the keys to ensuring accounts are safe from cyber-attacks.

"A lot of people use names which can be easily hacked."

Even celebrities were caught with weak passwords.

"I'm quite nervous about this because I am worried that my password is not very good at all," New Zealand comedian Guy Williams said.

"It's my name and birthday, please do not Google that!"

After seeing how vulnerable they were to hackers, many Mount Maunganui citizens decided to strengthen their passwords.

Project Password has three simple steps for a strong password; a capital letter, a number and symbol.

People who could not remember complicated passwords can create a passphrase, the press statement said.

Passphrases are longer sentences, usually containing around 5 or more words such as "ilovemountmaunganuibeach". These passwords were a simple but more secure to protect valuable bank, email and social media information.

Visit the Project Password Facebook page to see the video of Mount Maunganui citizens reacting to their password strength.

Project Password

- a campaign aiming to have all internet users in New Zealand become secure within their online activities. Its mission is to reduce the complacency surrounding passwords and get New Zealanders' to strengthen their passwords.

- consists of a group of University of Waikato Students and will run until mid-October.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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