The Most Common Password Mistakes you Must Stop Making Immediately!
Passwords. Sometimes it feels like we live and die by them. From our social media accounts to emails, turning on computers, music apps, and everything else in between requires some sort of a password. It’s enough to make your head spin. And this doesn’t even count the passwords required for financial documentation online, work, or credit card profiles.
Passwords function as your first line of defense against online hackers and cybercriminals, and yet, if you’re not careful, you may make it all too easy for the criminal to guess the password and use it to their advantage. How can you avoid something like this? Here are the most common password mistakes you must stop making immediately.
The Most Common Password Mistakes You Should Stop Doing Immediately
Recycle Your Passwords
If you’re like many individuals, you’re probably using the same handful of passwords for just about everything you do. If you want to use the same password for Facebook as Pandora, that’s your decision, but don’t use the same password for your American Express card, your debit card, your Facebook, and your smart TV. You also need to avoid recycling your passwords. What does this mean? Well, often, websites requiring passwords will have you change your password every few months to “improve security.” The problem with this is most people will simply swap in a different password they’ve been using on another website or service. This really doesn’t make you any safer. In fact, whenever you swap out and recycle an old password for what you’ve been using, you actually make yourself more vulnerable. If you’re required to enter a new password, make it an actual new one, not one you’ve been using on and off for the last decade.
Consider Screening Your Passwords
Even if you haven’t fallen victim to the other pitfalls of passwords, there’s a good chance you haven’t done this before. Screening your passwords doesn’t take long to do and will give you extra peace of mind knowing your passwords are more challenging to steal. Believe it or not but there are commonly used passwords that you don’t even realize or common. Ideally, you’ll do what you can to avoid using these kinds of common passwords. There are a number of services out there that will compare passwords and tell you how common what you’re considering is. Enzoic.com, for example, is an excellent service that is free to use.
When entering the new password through your computer, it might try to auto-generate one. These are especially secure because it’s just a random series of letters and numbers. The problem is you’ll likely never remember it. So when creating your own password, make sure to screen it.
So you probably don’t use the old “1234” or “abcd” password (at least we hope you’re not), but there are other passwords that are obvious to you. Obvious passwords mean they are common phrases or information about you that is easily obtained. It can be something like your address or your birthday. Don’t use birthday numbers of children either (you can use some of the numbers but combine this with a completely different line of text to ensure it’s not easily guessed).
Even using your pet name can be something you don’t want to do. Sure, cybercriminals might not know the name of your second dog, but friends and family might, and there might be times where they try to get into your accounts for one reason or another. If, in the event of an emergency, you want your loved ones to be able to find your passwords, you can write them down and put them in a safe location (such as a safety deposit box at the bank), but in general, do whatever you can to avoid the obvious passwords.
Don’t Create A Saved Cheat Sheet
Your computer might save some passwords for you and then keep the information encrypted for later use. This can be helpful at times, although eventually, you might discover that you can’t remember any of your passwords when logging onto a new computer or phone because you haven’t actually typed in your password in months (if not longer). However, what you want to avoid doing at all costs is actually typing and saving a document with the cheat sheet information on it. This likely isn’t encrypted, which in turn will leave you completely exposed if there is malware or spyware on your computer. Should this ever happen, the individual who hacks onto your computer or phone will have every single password for all your accounts and likely exactly where to use the passwords. You might as well hand over all your personal data to a complete stranger. Because of this, do not never save a cheat sheet. If you want to create one, write one down and don’t travel with it. Keep it hidden.
Protect Yourself And Your Passwords
With these tips and tricks, you can easily avoid many of the most common mistakes others make with their passwords. Maybe you’ve been doing some of these in the past. Perhaps you didn’t even realize what you were doing could potentially set you up for financial ruin. Well, now you know which is going to help you out in the future. Here at Charlotte IT Solutions, we want to do everything in our power to protect you and your assets. This begins with improving the strength of your passwords, but it doesn’t stop there. If you run your own business, regardless of the size or how long it has been active, you need to do everything you can to protect yourself from online criminals.
From implementing new security measures tailored to fit your business needs to helping you safeguard at-home employees, we will go the extra mile to keep your business in business and away from cyber hacks. If you’re interested in learning more or are ready to protect your business’ online integrity properly, give us a call or send us an email today.