Do you own your Passwords, or do your Passwords OWN YOU?
Let me put this out there – there are 2 kinds of people in this world. Those that have ONE password for EVERYTHING; and those that have ONE password for EACH of their application or websites they login to. Which one are you?
Well, obviously if you fall into the former category, then let me just say that that is a very dumb thing to do. It is as if you are calling out to all the hackers around the world, “Come! Hack me! My accounts are all open!” Because once a hacker finds out 1 of your passwords, all your accounts are now left vulnerable. But let’s face it, we are all lazy people who are getting older each day with a worsening memory, so I honestly wouldn’t blame you if you did resort to this.
On the other hand, if you fall into the latter category, then let me just shake your hand and wish you all the best in your future endeavours. Because unless you have a proper way to manage all your passwords, there is no way that you are able to remember all your different passwords for all your different accounts! (Unless you have a photographic memory of course!)
I mean, you would probably have one password for Outlook, one password for LinkedIn, one password for Facebook, one password for MailChimp, one password for Twitter, one password for…. You get it right? TLDR? Basically, you are swamped.
So let’s face it: staying on top of your digital life can be a nightmare these days. The average person has more than 90 online accounts to manage, according to recent figures. By 2020, this number is expected to balloon to over 200.
Yet, having ONE password for EACH of your application or websites is 1000% safer than having ONE password for all your accounts! You just need to learn how to manage them properly.
But Why is it so Important to have a Good Password?
Well, one very simple and obvious reason is that it prevents unauthorized access to your physical devices and online accounts! I mean, if your password is easy to crack, a cybercriminal may be able to gain access to your bank, social media, email and other private accounts, which could have a devastating effect on your life.
The importance of having robust passwords is particularly pronounced for small businesses as well!
Not only do business owners need to ensure their mission-critical data is safe in order to minimize company downtime, they also need to be doing everything they can to protect their clients’ personal information, which may be stored on the company’s system. Yet, small businesses often find themselves in the hackers’ crosshairs, due to the fact that they typically do not have the resources to support a dedicated IT security team. And what’s worst is that cybercriminals are well aware of this!
Of course, none of this should come as shocking news. In fact, you’re probably sick and tired of security experts telling you to improve your password hygiene. However, it seems that a pretty big chunk of the population has yet to get the memo, as far too many people are still relying on passwords that are about as secure as a wet paper bag.
According to a new analysis of the passwords leaked in the recent Yahoo data breach, the most popular choices are still “123456” and “password”.
So How do You become the Boss of Your Passwords?
Step 1: Don’t use Easy-to-Identify Passwords
Having robust login credentials is essential for protecting your identity and ensuring your data stays out of the hands of the bad guys.
Passwords such as your family names, middle names, birthdays, house numbers, phone numbers, etc. are all easy to identify, and therefore hackable passwords! In particular, never use your NRIC number or your ATM bank pin number! This is because Hackers have become expert at decrypting NRIC numbers based on knowledge of how they are assigned to each individual.
In addition, a mix of capitals and lowercase letters always helps encrypt passwords and deter hacking. For example, “ILoVeTeChNoLoGy” is a harder password to crack than “Ilovetechnology”!
Step 2: Have a Unique Password for Each Application
Passwords for everything, from your bank account and ATM card to your utility and Facebook accounts, should all be unique. Using the same password for multiple purposes may be easier to remember, but that’s also like putting out a welcome mat for the identity thieves.
Step 3: Get a Password Manager
Although it is safer to avoid recording your passwords, sometimes doing so is a necessity.
However, the first rule is this: do not store your login credentials in a text file.
Storing all your passwords in a plaintext unprotected file means that a hacker can simply steal the entire list of passwords in one fell swoop and truly wreak havoc on your digital life. If you’re a business owner, storing passwords in plaintext also increases the risk of an internal security issue as employees are freely able to access login credentials.
At the same time, remembering dozens of lengthy random, unique character combinations is more or less impossible.
So to become the boss of your passwords, you will need a Password Manager.
Moreover, there are countless of Password Managers around, so there is really no excuse for you to not get one!
Step 3.1: Get a Password Manager (The Alternative)
And if you are one of those people who really do not trust online applications to store your passwords for you, for fear of being hacked, or are simply not tech savvy, then using a Password Protected Spread Sheet might be your next best solution!
I know, I said before that storing all your passwords in a plaintext file can wreak havoc, but if you really do not want to trust an online application, then the least you could do is really to set a strong password to protect the file!
Here’s how you do it:
- Setup a Spread Sheet (Excel, OpenOffice, etc.) to contain the necessary fields (columns) to hold each account identity and password as well as other unique data elements for each account
- Password Protect that spreadsheet file by:
- Coming up with one at random by yourself, OR
- Using a randomizing program to create Passwords of at least 10 positions in length, using alphabet lower and uppercase, numerals and (allowable) special characters
Remember, the longer the password, the better!
The Logon Procedure will then be to:
- Copy the email address and password from the spreadsheet file to the logon page
- *Remember to NEVER check the option Remember Me on any Logon Page!
- This technique requires that you remember only one password, which is that of the spreadsheet file
- Maintaining the spreadsheet password file on a USB Drive provides mobility between your home desktop, office desktop and your laptop at the local WiFi Cafe. The USB Drive can be physically removed following login for additional security
And if you are interested in getting a dedicated IT Security Team for your company, do not hesitate to click the green button below!
eVantage Technology is a professional and trusted IT solutions provider, dedicated to providing exceptional service to companies in Singapore and across Asia.