FBI Phoenix Tech Tuesday: Upgrade to Passphrases

The Phoenix FBI is encouraging users to strengthen passwords in favor of passphrases.

Video Transcript

Good afternoon, I’m Craig Moringiello assistant special agent in charge of the FBI Phoenix Field Office. I oversee our cyber branch.

In honor of World Password Day on Thursday, May 6, the FBI is encouraging the public to strengthen their passwords and move towards passphrases. Passwords are used for everything from phones, to email, even personal financial information. Unfortunately, many people use simple passwords like 1234 or Password1, on multiple accounts. Simple passwords, even those with special characters are easier for someone to crack. Password length is more important than complexity. Instead of using short, complex passwords, use passphrases that combine multiple words and is longer than 15 characters. For example: TechTuesday2021Strengthen!

Strong passphrases can also help protect against personal data breaches. Data breaches occur when your data is released from a secure location to an untrusted environment. For example: if your credit card number is stolen and used or sold on the dark web. In 2020, Arizona reported more than 1,000 victims of personal data breaches with losses of more than $2 million. 

It’s important to note that scammers obtain people’s information in many ways. Sometimes a victim will unintentionally give the scammers their passwords, other times, the criminal is able to crack the code. To help protect you and your information:

Make sure your email, financial and health accounts have different, unique passphrases.

Make sure your password is as long as the system allows.

Set up multi-factor authentication for your accounts.

Don’t allow password hints.

Finally, if you believe your email or smart device has been compromised, please contact your closest FBI field office. Victims are also encouraged to file a complaint at IC3.gov.

Thank you.

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