We’ve come a long way since the 1950’s when a single computer could barely fit inside a small building. Compare that with the world of today, where the iPhone in your pocket has more computing power than all of NASA during the Apollo 11 moon landing.
But nowadays, technology is more than machines and gadgets. Rather, it’s an essential part of our lives – so essential, in fact, that over 80 percent of us check our phones within the first few minutes of waking up. And then we keep the same phones within three feet of us at all times. Our attachment to our phones can also be highly emotional.
According to one US study, more than 90 percent of Americans feel high levels of anxiety if they forget their phone at home. Similarly, research from 2013 showed that Americans were spending more than five hours online every single day!
We book our doctor’s appointments, check our bank statements and health insurance bills online, and browse Facebook and Amazon without considering the digital footprint we’re leaving behind. Often, our obsession with technology makes us forget that we’re putting our lives in the hands of software that can easily be hacked.
This ignorance (or negligence) comes at a price. One study showed that about 75 percent of the time, hackers successfully infiltrated the devices they attacked within mere minutes. This could in part be due to the fact that in 2015 “123456” and “password” remained the most popular passwords. To combat this, many companies have begun implementing multifactor authentication methods (e.g., using your password and a single use code sent to you via text message) to improve security.
But you should nonetheless change your passwords regularly, keep them over 8 digits long and include numbers, symbols, and spaces to avoid being counted among the 50 percent of people who use the same password across all their online accounts.