The cybercrime report from 2016 forecasts that cyber security will cost the global economy $10.5 trillion on an annual basis by 2025. To put this amount in perspective, the annual global spend in 2015 was $3 trillion.
Cybercrime costs are made up of damage or destruction to data itself, theft of money, business continuity, theft of intellectual property, financial data loss, fraud, investigation, restoration and overall damage to the company’s reputation.
Last year was the biggest year for data breaches, with the number of victims surpassing the whole of 2020 as of September 2021.
The biggest data breaches of 2021
According to Security Magazine, the largest data breaches of 2021 included;
Cognyte is a cyber security analytics firm that stores data to alert customers to potential exposures. 5 billion records were exposed without a password or any required authentication. These records included information such as name, email address, password and data source.
700 million LinkedIn users (almost 93% of members) data was on sale online. The data included personal information such as name, phone number, address, geolocation, username, experience and background.
Facebook’s database leaked 533 million accounts which included personal information of users from 106 different countries. The breach was identified by security researcher Alon Gal.
Bykea is a transportation and logistics company based in Pakistan. The exposed server highlighted 400 million of the company’s production server information which included full names, locations and more. In a previous attack, Bykea lost their entire customer database.
223 million datasets were available free on a Darknet forum. The data included names, tax identification, facial images, addresses, phone numbers, credit score and salary information amongst others. There was also data for several million deceased people as well as 104 million vehicle records.
Most secure nations
Research from 2021 has revealed that the password “123456” is still used by 23 million account holders and 72% of people recycle passwords for several accounts, leaving them vulnerable to cyber attacks.
By looking at global search data surrounding the keyword ‘password generator’, we uncovered which countries are most conscious when it comes to their personal cyber security by taking some necessary precautions to prevent data breaches. We looked at a total of 138 countries around the world with populations over 1 million and hypothesised that the countries using password generators are more likely to have strong and unpredictable passwords for each account.
This is what we found (search volume per 1,000 of the population):
- United Kingdom (2.326)
- Singapore (2.190)
- Netherlands (2.123)
- Australia (2.075)
- Ireland (1.845)
- Canada (1.771)
- Germany (1.705)
- Denmark (1.635)
- US (1.515)
- New Zealand (1.491)
- Finland (1.390)
- Sweden (1.360)
- Latvia (1.325)
- Norway (1.280)
- Slovenia (1.246)
- Cyprus (1.193)
- Lithuania (1.102)
- Belgium (1.071)
- Hong Kong (1.060)
- Hungary (0.907)
- Switzerland (0.832)
- Czech Republic (0.829)
- Israel (0.817)
- Slovakia (0.802)
- Croatia (0.762)
- Portugal (0.715)
- Austria (0.665)
- Poland (0.653)
- Romania (0.637)
- Bulgaria (0.635)
- Mauritius (0.621)
- Greece (0.603)
- UAE (0.571)
- Italy (0.476)
- Macedonia (0.461)
- Trinidad And Tobago (0.436)
- Ukraine (0.415)
- Serbia (0.413)
- France (0.391)
- Bosnia and Herzegovina (0.384)
- Costa Rica (0.373)
- Armenia (0.358)
- Malaysia (0.342)
- Belarus (0.339)
- Bahrain (0.335)
- Georgia (0.328)
- Qatar (0.299)
- Puerto Rico (0.294)
- Spain (0.277)
- Moldova (0.248)
Why you should use a password generator
Password generators are tools that create unique strong passwords to protect your accounts and data.
There are several advantages to using a password generator. Firstly, they are very easy to use. They create secure passwords for you and keep a reliable record of all your passwords. Additionally, the stronger your passwords, the safer your accounts, Wifi, banking and financial accounts are.
Weak passwords are usually a mix of names, birthdates, password variations and simple keyword patterns such as 123456. You want your passwords to include special symbols (! “ $ & % etc), be a combination of lowercase and uppercase letters, consist of random letters and not be words from the dictionary.
Security experts recommend that you change your passwords every 10 weeks for optimum protection.
How to keep your account safe
The internet is essential to our lives in so many ways but it is also packed to the rafters with potential dangers such as cybercrime, hackers, Trojans, scams, viruses and phishing.
The best ways to protect yourself online include;
- A strong password generated by a random password generator
- Password managers to keep all your passwords safe
- Don’t store passwords
- Don’t access sensitive accounts on free wireless networks
- Always keep your antivirus software updated
- Backup your passwords to alternative places
- Use 2-step authentication
- Use a secure browser
- Bookmark websites to avoid scams (particularly banking or paypal)
- Log out of your accounts
- Don’t store passwords in the cloud
- Never turn off your user account control (UAC)
The best password generators to use
Tech Radar has independently reviewed password generators and found the best ones to use in 2022:
Dashlane is top of the pile and offers fast password generation for specific lengths and one-click copy for ease. You can also gauge the strength of the password on the colour coded system.
Next up is LastPass which is a cross-compatible option that lets you specify the length of your password and gives you the ease of one-click copy. It is also 100% free.
NordPass is next. This password generator is online and in-app and lets you avoid ambiguous characters and specify length. The in-app generator is powerful and let’s you save your password there and then.
Finally, KeePass is a free option that offers comprehensive generation rules and gives you the control to specify exact password composition. You can easily abide by rules with the click of a button.
Are you one of the 72% recycling passwords for your accounts? Protect yourself online by securing your passwords and updating them regularly with a password generator. Don’t be one of 2022’s cybercrime victims.