You have too many passwords
On average in the UK users have 118 accounts registered to just one email address. Whilst some of these may be out of date or accounts you are never likely to use again, it still shows that we have far too many accounts for our brains to be able to memorise passwords for them all.
Your passwords are easy to hack
When registering for an account, most people pick passwords that they will easily be able to remember. In fact, the top 5 most common passwords are:
If you’re using one of these then you need to change your password immediately. Using a password like 123456 means it would take less than a second for a hacker to gain access to your account.
Even if you use slightly more complicated passwords that this, it is still likely that you simply use the same password for all your accounts or cycle through 2 or 3 different passwords. Whilst this is better than the incredibly easy to guess passwords above, it is still risky.
There are many ways hackers can go about trying to find your password:
- Setting up programmes that randomly cycle through different combinations
- Hacking the website, you have your account with
- Phishing – sending fake emails that look like they are from the site you have an account with
If your account is hacked and you use the same password for everything, then all your accounts become at risk. This could be your bank account, your cloud storage, your website or any type of account. The most worrisome are those that can be used to make purchases or hold confidential or personal information.
Last year, it was discovered that in 2013, Yahoo had a data breach and hackers got access to 1 billion accounts. If you had a yahoo account and you used the same password for that account as you did for other accounts, those accounts would now be at risk too.
So, what’s the solution?
Most people are bad at remembering a random string of characters, meaning there is often a limit to how complicated your password can be and how many of them your memory can store.
Instead of keeping passwords in your memory, you should start keeping them in a password manager. This is essentially a virtual safe that keeps all of your passwords secure. This way you only need to remember one password, so you can create a longer and more complicated one as it’s the only one you will need to remember. It also means all of your other passwords can be long and complicated because you don’t actually have to remember them, they are stored in your password manager ready to be accessed at any time.
By using complicated passwords, you keep your account secure. Using a 12 random character password takes over 2 centuries for a hacker to break with a brute force attack. Hackers won’t be able to get into your account and if they try, they will give up long before they get anywhere.
Password managers offer team and even enterprise accounts, so you can share access to passwords, granting access to certain vaults. By having your employees keep their business login information on a password manager, you allow everyone to work securely.
You won’t have to spend time cleaning up hacks and you can ensure that all employees are using strong passwords. Often it can simply be one employee whose weak password causes a devastating hack. Password managers generate strong passwords keeping all your business account safe.
But what if someone hacks your password manager?
If someone hacked your password manager, you might think they would get access to all your passwords but that’s not the case. Password managers are encrypted, so if a hacker gets access to your vaults all they will see is a scrambled mess of characters, making the passwords in your safe completely secure.
You might also be concerned that it will be annoying or time consuming to go back to your password manager every time you need to login to an account. But, most password managers have browser plugins that auto-populate username and password fields for you, making them really simple to use.