What Can a Passphrase Do for You?

If you’ve been using technology for any amount of time, hopefully, you understand the need for sound password security. By using a secure, unique password on all of your accounts, you can help minimize the risk of account takeover and identity theft. However, a strong password isn’t foolproof.

A study by Google and UC Berkley found that hackers manage to steal nearly 250,000 usernames and passwords every week, simply by asking for them in phishing emails…and that’s only one method of a cyberattack. That doesn’t even take into consideration the theft of this data by methods like keylogging, viruses that sift through your computer for information, and data breaches.

One newly deployed security measure that’s gaining ground with businesses and experts alike is the verbal passphrase. This is a spoken word combination or statement that the account holder must say before the representative can share any details or take any action on the account. By requiring this phrase, you’re able to verify your account ownership without having to speak sensitive information like your birthdate or your Social Security number.

A verbal passphrase also solves another common identity theft problem: rampant requests for verification from outsiders. Too many phishing attempts contain the same all-too-believable story, namely that there’s a problem with your account and they need to you to verify your username and password. What intelligent consumer wouldn’t be concerned enough to fall for it? Even though sources have warned consumers repeatedly not to fall for the old “account verification” ploy, it obviously happens hundreds of thousands of times a week.

With a verbal passphrase, even the customer service rep might not have access to your more sensitive information. Why should they? They wouldn’t need it if you were able to clue them into your identity with something as simple as, “It rains a lot on my birthday,” for example.

This method of securing your account works to fight some problems, and it’s another tool in your privacy toolbox aimed at keeping prying eyes out of your information while allowing you easy access. Adding this step, alongside things like password security, two-factor authentication, and good habits involving emails or texts can help reduce your risk of losing control over your accounts.


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Read next: You're Just One Click Away from Online Safety With These Helpful Tips

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