It’s no secret that a pillar of cyber security is keeping strong and different passwords. But, according to a Google survey, 65% of people reuse passwords on different websites. This terrible habit is known as password recycling, and it leaves your accounts vulnerable on the web. Most of us know not to recycle old passwords, but 91% of people claim to be aware of the risks associated with recycling passwords. That leaves the question: why?
The problem is complexity. Having multiple strong passwords becomes tedious and difficult to remember. Sure, it’s harder for hackers to get into your accounts, but it’s also much more difficult for the account’s intended user. Remembering different iterations of a password like “aJD;w093jas;lkkd” isn’t as difficult as remembering “123456” or “qwerty” for each website. (Also, if your password is “123456”, “qwerty”, “111111”, or “password” – those are the most common and most easily guessed passwords… please stop reading this and go change all of your passwords ASAP.)
Changing Your Passwords
We also must remember that it is important to regularly change our passwords. Most experts recommend changing passwords, especially for accounts with sensitive data like banks or email, every thirty days. That’s right, once a month… try not to think about how long you’ve been using the name of your dog as your password.
Most of us are aware that we need strong and independent passwords for every website, but we ignore that advice and continue to use them anyway. Luckily, there IS a solution! Having a password manager can be a very helpful way to keep individual, complex, and strong passwords.
Before using a password manager, you need to come up with an incredibly secure password that is not related to your life and can’t be guessed. This is called a “master password”, and as long as it is very strong, it will keep your other passwords safely guarded inside an encrypted vault. Never share or write this password down. Especially never write it down online or in a Word document. If someone were to get ahold of your master password, it would leave every account you have vulnerable.
So let’s sum up.
- Have Strong and complex passwords
- Change those passwords every month
- Don’t use the same passwords on different websites
- Use a password manager with a strong master password to help you keep track of your complex and often-changed passwords
If you follow those guidelines, your chances of being hacked or having your passwords guessed are exponentially lowered. However, they aren’t zero. Following these steps should always be combined with other strong cyber security efforts. If you aren’t sure where your business is in its efforts or if you don’t have defenses in place, please visit our contact page.