No one likes passwords, but they are more important than ever these days. And the ones that worked for you five years ago are probably useless today. If your bank, emails, social media is at stake, you owe it to yourself to use a secure, random code that a machine can’t guess. As you go about resetting your passwords, avoid these eight common password mistakes.
Password Mistake #1: Using the same password everywhere
The easiest way to remember a password is to use only one, but that’s also the fastest route to disaster and the number one password mistake. Once a successful phishing attack captures that password—and studies have found that as many as 97% of people can’t detect a phishing email—the attacker essentially has the keys to the kingdom. While it’s probably okay to use the same password for sites that don’t store any passwords, you should use different and secure passwords in any situation where your identity or financial information could be compromised.
Password Mistake #2: Varying passwords with a single character
This is a password mistake trap many people fall into when asked to change their passwords; they comply by changing a “12” to a “13.” Password-guessing programs are wise to this trick and can sniff it out in seconds.
A variation of this dangerous practice is to include a non-alphanumeric character by tacking “!” onto the end of your existing password. That’s the oldest dodge in the book, and password crackers are wise to it. Non-alphanumeric characters should be used within the password, not at either end.
Password Mistake #3: Using personal information in passwords
Avoid using names of relatives, celebrities, sports teams, pet or any other common terms in your passwords. Cracking software automatically looks for the most common combinations like Yoda123. Don’t think that you can protect yourself by invoking personal information like the name of a loved one or your high school mascot. Social networks make it straightforward for crooks to harvest that information.
It would be best if you also didn’t assume that adding a string of characters to a common name is protection enough. Password crackers know this trick and cycle through combinations of common names and numbers until they hit the right one. The only safe password is one with random—or seemingly random —sets of characters.
Password Mistake #4: Sharing passwords with others
You might have the strongest password in the world, but if you share it with someone who stores it in an email account protected by “qwerty,” it won’t make a bit of difference. Your passwords are for your eyes only.
Password Mistake #5: Using passwords that are too short
A decade ago, a five- or six-character password was enough to beat most cracking programs, but computers are so much faster now that a brute-force attack can guess a six-character password. Think 12 characters at a minimum with a mix of characters.
Password Mistake #6: Storing passwords in plain text
One easy way to remember passwords is to store them in a spreadsheet or mail them to yourself. Bad, bad idea. Have you heard of ransomware? It’s the fastest-growing category of malware. Criminals hold your data hostage until you pay them a ransom. In the meantime, they scour your hard drive looking for anything that resembles a password list. Once they find it, the ransom payment is the least of your problems.
Password Mistake #7: Using recognizable keystroke patterns
“1qaz2wsx” may seem like a pretty tough password to guess until you look at your keyboard and notice the pattern. A random series of letters and numbers must be truly random to have a chance.
Password Mistake #8: Substituting numbers for letters
This used to be an effective technique, but “W1nt3r2O19” doesn’t survive a determined attack any more. The software is on to that trick.
So what can you do to rectify these common password mistakes—and ensure you never commit them again in the future?
Your best bet is to use a password manager protected by strong encryption. The best ones generate secure passwords for you and give you total protection with two-factor authentication.
A best-in-class password manager will allow you to correct all of the most common password mistakes. It will automatically prompt you to auto-generate and store a new, secure password every time you are creating a new account. A password manager automatically creates an uncrackable, random password with high character length, and a combination of letters, numbers and symbols. And the best part? You’ll never have to remember the passwords, they are stored for you and will automatically populate when you go to log in. You can also securely share passwords and important files via encryption.
Isn’t it time you created a free password manager account before it’s too late?
The application I recommend and have been using for years is called LastPass
You can get the free account or upgrade to Premium for a small fee! Also if you go Premium, you will get a free month of LastPass.
This app works great on laptop’s, PCs and phones!
LastPass is a login sharing application; it allows other people that you choose to log-in to your apps and sites without having to share your passwords. It also enables you to have unique, secure passwords to all your apps – you need to remember a master password or use a fingerprint, retinal scan etc.
How we use this app to save time.
No searching for passwords
Infinite- I can safely say with this app we would be wasting a lot of time
Technical Difficulty (Get Started): 1/10
Technical Difficulty (Master): 5/10
Time to set up: less than 5 minutes!
Recommended subscription: (solo use Premium)
It takes the stress of remembering passwords and also saves you time resetting your forgotten password…
If you need any assistance with your Tech, please drop me a message or book in a free 15 strategy call