Microsoft urges Windows users to make a simple settings change today

‌Today is World Password Day which means it’s time to have a bit of digital spring clean and make sure your online accounts are secure. To help its users stay a little safer online, Microsoft has issued some useful advice that could definitely be worth considering if you use platforms such as Windows 10 or Windows 11.

The Redmond firm says it tracked a whopping 1,287 password attacks per second (more than 111 million per day) in 2022 and the threats show no signs of stopping. In fact, phishing-style emails are an increasingly favoured attack method with them up 61 percent from 2021 to 2022.

To help avoid becoming the next victim of cyber crooks, Microsoft is recommending that users make a simple change to their settings, then try and go totally password free.

Late last year, Microsoft announced that anyone can completely remove the password from their Microsoft account.

Instead, those wanting to log on can switch to the Microsoft Authenticator app, Windows Hello, a security key, or a verification code sent to your phone or email. That means no passwords are needed and there’s less chance of being hacked.

Microsoft introduces Windows 11 in 2021

Here’s how to do it:

• Download and install Microsoft Authenticator (linked to your personal Microsoft account).

• Sign in to your Microsoft account.

• Choose Security. Under Advanced security options, you’ll see Passwordless account in the section titled Additional security.

• Select Turn on.

Along with switching away from passwords, there are other things that are worth trying including adding multifactor authentication.

This method, which requires a code to be sent to another device to log in, which blocks 99.9 percent of account compromise attacks.

Of course, if you simply want to carry on using passwords there are some ways to make sure that things are kept as secure as possible including making sure codes are at least 12 characters long and can’t be guessed easily.

Here’s Microsoft’s latest advice on keeping your passwords safe:

• Maintain a length of 12 characters for your passwords (14 or more is better)

• Use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.

• Create unique passwords for each account and ensure each one is different from the last

• Use multifactor authentication when available

• Don’t use personal dates, names, messages or common words as your password

• Continue to check for malware updates on your devices and keep them up to date

• Changed immediately if you suspect it may have been compromised.

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