Passwords – the bane of everyone’s digital life, but with the rise of AI voice clones have you considered creating a family password? Over the weekend I was writing the cybersecurity chapter of my new book and I outlined the need for family passwords, and wanted to share this idea with my network well before the book hits the shelf.

In many of my keynotes, I implore my audience to take digital security more seriously with these 3 tips:

1. Head to Have I Been Pwned to see if your email or password has been included in one of nearly 13 BILLION that security expert Troy Hunt has included on the site

2. Invest in a password manager and take the time to learn how to integrate it into your daily routine. I’ve used 1Password for some years now

3. Enable 2-factor authentication (2FA) on EVERYTHING – including here on LinkedIn and all of your social sites and any website that offers it. In the comments, I have a included link to a range of resources to help keep you safe online

There is a new, evolving threat that you and your family need to be aware of. As explained in my talks, if you are a senior leader at your firm and have a high level of responsibility, you’re at greater risk of being targeted in a more sophisticated attack that may go unnoticed for weeks or even months.

Here is a possible scenario:

Your Gmail account is compromised because you haven’t turned on 2FA and a hacker has guessed your password.

What they do next may surprise you. Rather than logging into your Gmail and wreaking havoc, they log in and they wait. You won’t detect that they are in your account every day, but they are learning the names of your children, your parents, your parents-in-law and the places you like to go on vacation and the names of your pets.

They need this information to build up a profile of what someone who knows you well might say to you in an e-mail, and now with generative AI voice cloning being available, they clone the voice of someone close to you and then call you as them in a panic asking for money, knowing things about you that only a close friend or family member would know.

Having this exclusive access to your life, undetected and unobserved leaves you, your friends and family and importantly your company completely vulnerable to cyberattacks and potential extortion.

By creating a “family password”, a word or phrase that only those closest to you would know because you’ve shared it for just this reason, then a potential deepfake voice hacker will be easily foiled.

If you want to know more about how to stay safe online, then have me speak at your event or read my book when released. In the meantime, you can watch my short public service announcement about online safety recorded at a Mercer event below.