123456, 666666, Password, Password1, Welcome1
Recognize any of the above? If you’re one of the 10% of world web users, then you probably do, because you’ve likely used one of them (or a slight variation of one of them) as a password before. It’s even estimated that 3% of web users have used the most common poor password, ‘123456’. So, for those of you that have used one of the above as a password for something, while you’re not alone, you remain one of the most vulnerable to cyberattacks and hacks.
Listen, as a team made up of tech guru’s, IT wizards and all-star gamers, we get it. Between email and social media, online banking and personal accounts, you use a multitude of platforms – all of which require a unique password. Whether it’s your personal or work life, it’s hard enough remembering one or two passwords, let alone nine or ten. In fact, according to Cyclonis’ Password Security Report, it’s projected that in total, people will have to manage as many as 300 billion passwords by the year 2020. That’s just about 40 passwords for every man, woman and child on the planet. Crazy, right?
The statistics don’t lie, and given the numbers, it’s no wonder the majority of us (an astonishing 83% of us to exact) use the same password for almost everything, even despite countless warnings. Research says that nearly 100 passwords are stolen every second, which is more than 8 million passwords per day. If you’re password is one of the 8 million, that’s bad enough. But, if you’ve been using the same password for every account, the hacking of even one password will affect not one, but every single account you use that password for. Say goodbye to your valuable data and personal information.
So, how do you avoid getting your password stolen?
A critical step to protecting yourself (and your passwords) from hackers and cybercriminals is by using a Password Manager. Having and remembering multiple passwords can be cumbersome. Password Managers not only help you generate strong and unpredictable passwords, but also act as a vault for all of these passwords so you don’t forget them. At TWT, we show our clients the ins-and-outs of using affordable Cloud-based Password Managers like LastPass. LastPass makes and remembers each encrypted password so our clients don’t have to and comes with web interface, as well as includes plugins for various web browsers and apps for many smartphones.
You’re probably thinking – isn’t it easier for a hacker to access my Password Manager rather than discover each of my individual passwords? While Password Managers contain a lot of data, making them valuable to cyber criminals, they are far safer than the alternative. As mentioned on Techlicious, Password Managers like LastPass use zero-knowledge security protocols which encrypt master passwords with an encryption key that is stored only on your devices. Pair this with an encryption that includes thousands of rounds of authentication hashing, and hacking into your Password Manager is an extremely challenging thing to do.
"The typical alternatives to a password manager are using the same password everywhere or storing them in a spreadsheet,” says Sandor Palfy, LastPass CTO. “Some people may be hesitant to use a password manager because they’re afraid of ‘putting all their eggs in one basket’, but it is a very, very safe basket.”
Password managers also:
Help you come up with better passwords
Using your dogs name, your moms phone number or your sibling’s birthday as a password isn’t a good start. Cyclonis’ Password Security Report found that 33% of respondents use simple number combinations (12345, 1111, etc.) for their passwords, and 29% use a very common word and just add a "1" or "!" at the end to satisfy the requirements of the website. These passwords are easy to hack, and cybercriminals know this. Ensure your passwords are unpredictable and contain a mix of numbers and symbols. This can be hard to come up with on your own, which is where a random password generator (provided through a password manager) comes into play.
Ensure you change your password every 90 days (or more)
Frequently changing our passwords should be a routine thing, but it isn’t. The reality is there is a greater risk of a password being compromised or leaks the longer it remains unchanged. Changing your password also limits keystroke loggers, or a software which covertly records the keys struck on your keyboard, from gaining access to your accounts. Key logging sounds like a far-fetched notion, but it’s more prominent than you’d think.
Make sure don’t use the same password for everything
Once a password is leaked, cybercriminals and hackers will have access to your email address, username and password – a combination they are likely to try on multiple websites. This means that having the same password could compromise every account you own. While Multi-Factor Authentication protects you to some degree, be sure to have unique passwords for each of your accounts. Using a Password Manager will help facilitate this all while ensuring you don’t forget each one.
Don’t let your passwords be the reason you fall victim to cybercriminals and hackers. Reach out today to learn more about Password Managers and how they could save your information – we promise, you won’t be disappointed. We also offer a free and easy tool to generate strong passwords here.
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