Five Terrible Password Practices and How to Avoid Them
Everyone knows it’s important to have a quality password for their various accounts. Unfortunately, many, many people don’t. Instead, they make one or more of the following five mistakes.
Not changing your password regularly is only making life easier on those people you want to keep out. You know, the ones who are the whole reason you have a password in the first place.
A lot of platforms won’t let you reuse a password, but this isn’t always the case. Some will prompt you to make a change from time to time, but if you want to use the same one, that won’t be a problem. For others, you could have the same password for the rest of your life and it would never get brought up.
Hopefully, the reasons for why you shouldn’t do this are fairly obvious. When most of us think of hackers, we imagine tenacious techies who will sit down for hours at a time while they work on trying to crack into a protected system. That definitely happens, but it’s far from the only threat you face.
Using the Same Password on Multiple Accounts
This is a mistake most of us are guilty of making. These days, no one has just one sign-on they have to remember. Even in our personal lives, there is our email, our social media accounts (those alone could easily account for two or three), the lock on our computers, iTunes, PayPal, eBay, Amazon and many more. Then add to that the ones most of us have at work. That’s another half-dozen or so in a lot of cases.
One way around this frustrating problem is to simply use the same password for all of them. Some people make little variations to the same one here and there. Again, it’s an understanding approach.
Unfortunately, you’re playing with fire. Rest assured that if a hacker gets their hands on a password, they’re going to use it on every account they know of to see if they can compromise more of yours.
Getting your Facebook account hacked usually isn’t going to be the end of the world. Aside from feeling victimized, you can contact Facebook and usually get your account back relatively quickly.
What if you used the same password, though, for your corporate email? Now, you may have to worry about losing your job. That hack could affect countless other people as well.
Maybe the hacker will figure out whom you bank with too or what credit cards you own. In the span of a couple of minutes, you could lose a lot of money and have your credit score completely destroyed.
Be smart. Use different passwords for every account you have and change them regularly. Otherwise, you might make a hacker’s day and, at the same time, suffer unimaginable consequences.
Not Changing Default Passwords
A lot of platforms give you a default password when you first start an account with them. They are almost always extremely simple though. Hackers are out there praying they get lucky enough to stumble upon someone who doesn’t take an extra minute out of their day to change the default password. Considering their simplicity, something like a brute force attack (where software uses one combination of characters after the next) will make quick work of your attempt at security.
The other reason this mistake is so inexcusable is because a lot of times, if the password isn’t insanely simple, it’s one that nobody could possibly remember. It might only be about seven characters, but it’s a completely random jumble that’s only going to prove inconvenient for you. What do most people do, then? They write it down and leave it somewhere hopefully no one will look.
If you think your email is impenetrable, then emailing your password to someone probably doesn’t seem like a big deal. A lot of people actually do this to send their company password to their personal email address, so they have it saved elsewhere.
Sadly, we know that email addresses get hacked all the time. It actually has little to do with the security measures employed by a given email provider. This isn’t an issue for Google or Hotmail because email addresses are usually “hacked” the old fashioned way: through the password.
When you email your password somewhere, what you’re really doing is putting it in two places it could now be found. There’s the sent folder on your email and the inbox on the other person’s/yours. If either of these is lacking for a quality password, the one you just sent could easily get found by a hacker.
Of course, if you do this once, you will probably do this again and again. Your email address could become a goldmine for any hacker lucky enough to break in.
What you need is password management software. This kind of platform will relieve you of all of these silly practices. You can save all your passwords on one of these programs and even use it to automatically sign you in to your various accounts. You can pick the most complex passwords possible and change them every single day if you want, without having to worry about forgetting them or other concerns that lead you to making these five mistakes.