Another article on passwords and online security – but I make no apologies, it’s a serious subject!
Cybercrime is growing ridiculously quickly and causes its victims very serious damage (I wrote back here about how it puts businesses out of business).
I am continuously surprised at the number of people I talk to who dismissively tell me (sometimes even aggressively – as in a challenge!) that they use the same password for all their account logins. That includes Internet banking, newsgroups, support forums, webmail accounts and more, and, I’m told, they’ve never had a problem.
To which my reply is: “It’s only a matter of time”.
And I’m often dismissed as being paranoid (until, that is, one of those dismissers is hacked – then they wake up and smell the coffee!).
The reality is that if you use the same password on all your account logins it only takes one of those accounts to be successfully hacked and suddenly the hackers have your access details for all your accounts – including your bank accounts, your online tax submission account, and so on.
Can you honestly say that you can remember every account, newsgroup or forum you’ve ever signed up for..? Some of them may have been years ago and they may have fallen into disuse, with the websites they’re running on using outdated (read: insecure) platforms. Sites like that are way more vulnerable to hacking – and, therefore, to passing your login details over to the hackers.
Identity theft (that’s what we’re talking about here) causes its victims incredible damage:
- Your credit rating can be trashed
- Your bank accounts compromised
- Your email accounts used to send out spam (which will result in your email provider suspending them)
- Your insurance policies surrendered
- . . . the list goes on
Make no mistake: today’s cybercriminals are smart, sophisticated, ruthless and at the leading edge of technology.
The instant you use the same password on a second account it becomes insecure – however complex it was originally
To appreciate how easy some people make it for the cyber criminals, I urge you to read an article that was recently posted on the iThemes website – pay particular attention to the Bobbie and Sue scenario!
There really is no excuse for not using complex and different passwords on every online account you own.
Web browsers these days all have the ability to remember your passwords for each account and, if you don’t like that idea, there is a plethora of password managers that are encrypted (secure) and regularly updated. They will not only generate random and complex passwords for you, they will store them securely and log in to your accounts for you at the click of a button.
Here are two (but there are plenty of others):
If you have any questions or would like clarification on anything please: