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The Biggest Password Mistakes Users Make

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A password has been a gatekeeper to access countless digital services that we use. Entering passwords has been a task we do daily. It is supposed to be the first line of security against unwanted access to our personal information, yet most people seldom give it a second thought. 

Having a password that is easy to attack is like leaving your house unlocked. You can leave a way in for hackers, cybercriminals, and third parties who will make themselves very comfortable. Whether it is financial ruin, data intrusion, or leaking your personal information online, it can end very badly for you. Never experiencing a breach does not mean you should forgo the security that strong passwords provide. Passwords can protect everything from entertainment content platforms to your online finances and banking accounts.

Recently, the World Password Day survey in 2022 revealed that 90% of global respondents are aware of password security. Yet, the same survey showed that a high amount of people still make common mistakes while creating their passwords. Poor passwords can open the door to a hacker, and an unprotected network can make this problem even worse. Using a VPN can allow you to protect your data and network to an extent. You can even use an online VPN, as there are features like a provider having VPN servers in Canada that can allow you to put your IP address in a completely different continent or country. Whether you are trying to go to the remotest places in the US to work or want to solo-travel to Paris while working, if you have poor password management and no network protection, you could put yourself at a huge risk when using a public network.

As long as you are an internet user, you should assume that you are at risk. Let’s take a look at the four most common password mistakes that people do:

Easily Guessed Passwords

Almost 75% of people get frustrated with remembering their passwords, and more than half of Americans manage their passwords using only their memory. It is understandable to choose an easy password for them, but the same can be said for hackers online. 

Six out of ten individuals tend to incorporate their personal information into the passwords of an online account, putting them at risk of easy attacks by hackers. Pieces of details such as birthdays, pet names, or a loved one’s names are too accessible in this day and age since people can find them easily on your social accounts. Many people have passwords that are not complex enough. All letters/numbers or too short passwords are too simple for hackers. A password including upper/lower case letters, keyboard symbols, and numbers will secure your accounts.

Passwords such as “password123”, “XlovesX” or “petname” that you find meaningful, are one of the most common passwords found by various data breaches. Instead of using a simple password to provide a simple attack for hackers, choose a strong password that is not personal to you – such as some random fact, figure, place, or thing that has no connection to you. Don’t forget to add a variety of characters, numbers, and special symbols to strengthen your passwords!

One Password For All Accounts

Memorizing the same password to sign up for different services poses a serious security risk of a breach into all your account. Nevertheless, a survey revealed that 52% of participants reuse passwords for various accounts, and surprisingly 13% reuse them for all accounts. Over 40 million Microsoft users use the same password on their different accounts, creating a high risk of being breached. Some do change their password, yet they just make some slight variations such as adding/substituting letters, numbers, or symbols to memorize quickly – another common and predictable mistake that hackers would love you to make.

Even worse, only 45% of people changed their password after being breached. Diversifying your passwords should be your priority to prevent your digital information and mitigate the risks of being breached across different platforms.

Opting Out of Multi-Factor Authentication

Multi-factor authentication can block 99% of password vulnerabilities. Extra layers of verification such as one-time passwords via email/SMS are worth trying. Hackers need to jump through extra hurdles and hoops before attacking your accounts, which also helps you to have time to know that your account is at risk and protect it. Turn two- or even three-factor verification to your accounts if possible. There’s no surprise that companies like Google are making it a standard to have two-factor authentication on their users’ accounts

Underestimate The Value of Password Managers

A password manager is a valuable technology helping you to auto-generate a single-use password for a particular account and website when you create new accounts or update your passwords. You don’t have to remember your passwords anymore since password managers will store and auto-fill when you log in. There are a bunch of password managers that you can count on that are available online and for free.

Surveys found that 43% of users shared their passwords with a significant other. It will be a surprise but more than half of IT professionals are inclined to share passwords with others. Sharing things like passwords might feel reasonable, but passwords for several accounts might be not. Sharing your password in fact should be avoided as much as possible. In the case you must share with 3rd parties, password managers will secure your account for a limited time.

It is not difficult to think that cyberattacks will never happen to you. However, being cautious with your passwords prevents you from the risks of identity fraud, financial losses, or any further consequences. Creating a habit of checking your password hygiene and updating with new authentication techniques is important to protect your digital accounts!

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