Passwords are a pain in the bum.

[click_to_tweet tweet=”Let’s be honest; passwords and trying to remember them all is a massive pain in the bum.” quote=”Let’s be honest; passwords and trying to remember them all is a massive pain in the bum.”] Your Facebook, you online banking, your phone, your Kindle, your Snapchat, Insta, Netflix…. The list is endless. And in the era of ‘The Internet of Things‘ it won’t be long til your fridge and your kettle has a password too!

Most of us are guilty of making mistakes regarding password security (and I include myself in that!) The 5 most common mistakes that people make are these:

    1. Weak Passwords

      There are many things that make passwords weak and vulnerable. Here are some of the factors:

      • Composed only of letters
      • Composed only of numbers
      • Too short
      • Uses a pattern (e.g. “QWERTY” or “zaq1zaq1”)
      • Easy to guess (TIME Magazine reported that “password” was the second most used password of 2016, right behind “123456” – can you believe it?)
      • Uses personal information (e.g. street number of address, dog’s name, etc.)
      • Generic (passwords such as “admin” for admins can lead to big trouble!)
      • Username and password are the same

      Want to find out how strong your password is? You can check here. According to this site, it would take a computer 1 octillion years to crack my password. For reference an octillion is a one followed by 27 zeros.. that’s 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years…which is reassuring!

      password security

    2. One Password to Rule Them All

      Please don’t do this! You’re one hack away from an identity theft nightmare that could last for months, or even years. The smartest thing you can do is create strong and unique passwords for each of your logins. If you insist on having the same password for everything (PLEASE NO!), try to add something that will make it a little bit harder fro your identity to be stolen! Let’s say your password in hunter2. So for Facebook, you could make it hunter2_fb, Snapchat could be hunter2_SC. It’s not much but it might put a small roadblock in the way of the scammer stealing your identity!

    3. Sharing Passwords

      The only time it makes sense to share passwords is between colleagues who are using a shared database within a password manager. But of course, those passwords should only be for work-related machines, devices and accounts — not for personal stuff.

      And if you think it’s safe to share passwords with your best friend or even your spouse or family member: think again! No, it’s not because they may do something bad. It’s because they may unintentionally expose your password to hackers — and you’ll end up paying the price.

      Think of it this way: some secrets should just stay between you and you. This includes your precious passwords.

    4. Improper Password Storage

      Even if you have the strongest and most unique passwords in the world, they’re unsafe if stored locally in a browser. The same goes for storing passwords in an office drawer, ON STICKY NOTES, or in spreadsheets.

      If you’re getting a headache trying to remember all of your complex passwords, then using a good password manager will make your life easierHere’s a good breakdown by PCMAG.

      (Disclaimer: I tried to use a password manager and I just didn’t like so I’m being a bit of a hypocrite here)

    5. Not Using 2FA or MFA
       What is Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)?

      2FA combines something you know, like a password, with something you have, such as a mobile phone. 2FA obliges you use both elements to authenticate your identity.

      What is Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)?

      MFA takes this one step further by combining something you know, something you have, and something that is unique to your physical being — like your retina or fingerprint. You need all of them to authenticate your identity.

      It’s an extra layer of security and peace of mind for you and your online data.

 

While we’re talking password security, we can also touch on your email address and whether it’s been compromised. You can easily check on haveibeenpwned.com . As you can see from the screenshot below, my old Hotmail address hasn’t fared well over the years! (I’ve had that email address for nearly 20 years!)

If you have an account that has been compromised, CHANGE YOUR PASSWORD IMMEDIATELY! Not tomorrow, not later on..NOW!!!

have i been pwned

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Peace out.

Niamh

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