Nowadays, we all have dozens of online accounts. From social media to ecommerce platforms, we need to create a profile for almost every website we visit. The most important step when creating a new account is coming up with a good password, as this is the only way to prevent hackers from getting access to your information. However, people make a lot of mistakes when creating passwords, putting their accounts at risk. For instance, if a cybercriminal gets into your Amazon account, they’ll then have access to your credit card number, address, and more. Here, we take a look at the most common password mistakes and how to fix them:
Storing Passwords in Plain Text
It’s impossible to remember all your passwords. Still, writing passwords down on paper or having them saved in an Excel spreadsheet is a big no-no. The reason is simple: anyone who finds them will get full access to all your accounts. The best way to avoid this is by using a password manager. Password managers lock all your credentials in a secure vault that can only be opened with your master password. Moreover, they come with the perks of password syncing and auto-filling, which makes the process of logging into a website far more convenient.
Using Weak Passwords
It takes less than 30 seconds for a cybercriminal to crack a weak password, and there are plenty of traps you can fall into when creating a password that will leave you vulnerable. Just using a few characters is an obvious one, but even a long password with a lot of letters is easy to hack into. In fact, changing some letters for numbers doesn’t cut it anymore either – you also need to include special characters to make a strong password. Of course, creating such complex passwords every time you want to create a new online account is a drag. That’s why we recommend using a reliable password generator that offers plenty of flexibility.
Having Repeated or Similar Passwords
Another common mistake people make is using the same password for several accounts, or just changing each password ever so slightly – ‘password2’ isn’t any more secure than ‘password1’. Let’s imagine that a hacker is able to get access to your Facebook page. The first thing they’ll do is try the password they cracked (and similar ones) on other websites. In short, by cracking just one of your accounts, they get access to all your online information. That’s why you need to come up with unique passwords for each new account. While a password manager helps you remember all of these complicated passwords, password generators aid you in the creation process. But it’s the password audit, provided by software like 1Password, that helps you the most by scanning all credentials and warning you about repeated passwords.
Sharing Passwords Insecurely
Although sharing account credentials is more common in businesses, many people share their personal accounts. It goes without saying that you should only share accounts with people you trust, but just the act itself is a hacking hazard. Usually, people share passwords via email, text, or messaging apps. This means that the password is sent in plain text, which anyone can read. Even if you share your password in person, you never know who might be listening. So, the best way to share a password with someone is by using a platform designed just for that. Some password managers, like Dashlane, allow for encrypted sharing, which makes sure that only the intended recipient has access to your shared password.
Keeping the Same Password After a Data Breach
Even if you have the strongest password in the world, nothing will protect you from a data breach. Imagine that Facebook has been hacked and cybercriminals have taken users’ credentials. In this case, the only way for you to make sure your account stays secure is by changing your password. But it’s challenging to keep up with all the data breaches happening around the world. That’s why we recommend using a password manager that comes with dark web monitoring, such as Keeper. The software scans the dark web for potential data breaches, warns you when it finds a website you have an account with, and prompts you to immediately change your password.
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