Using a Unique Password

Having a unique password for every account can grow tiresome. However, with the increasing regularity of data breaches, they are more necessary than ever before. Below I have listed common mistakes users make to scare us into changing.

  1. using actual words

Is your “unique password” a collection of words that only have meaning to you? Such as CatsAnDPUPPies. While easy to remember, using text-only passwords leaves you vulnerable. How does the average hacker crack passwords?  Not with skill.  With some simple software that runs a Dictionary Attack.

Dictionary Attack - Wikipedia

The reason the long unique passwords take so long to crack is that the password isn’t in the “dictionary” list of passwords the hacker is using.  That means they have to run different software that creates random guesses to try.  See the graphic below for a breakdown: graph of how long it takes for a hacker to brute force your unique password

  1. using the same password for all accounts

Say, for instance, you use a similar username on all your accounts and rotate about 2-3 passwords (again, drawing from personal experience here.) Well if someone hacks your Facebook, they might inadvertently possess your banking or LinkedIn password. Identity theft is rampant on the internet, so don’t get caught with your pants down.

  1. ignoring advice

Everyone, even hackers, benefits from having unique passwords.  However annoying it is to have to enter unique passwords for every website, we all need to start taking our online security seriously and safeguard our information. Password keepers are a useful tool, such as LastPass or Chrome Passwords. These will save your passwords in a secure location and autofill login fields so you can get by with maximum protection and minimal effort. Don’t believe me? Test your password here to see if you are hacker bait:  

How Secure is my Password? Tool

 

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