Perfect time to change your passwords
During the Covid-19 outbreak and quarantine, it’s a perfect time to change your passwords to stronger ones. Passwords work like a key to important personal information, such as name, birth date, home address, phone number and credit card information. Criminals can use personal information for identity theft. Because the personal information in your profiles is protected by passwords, password security is important.
However, not everyone pays attention to password hygiene. Surprisingly many people use simple passwords, such as “password”, “123456”, “qwerty” etc. Additionally, most people reuse passwords on multiple accounts. Both using simple passwords and reusing them are bad for security. Here are 3 reasons to change your passwords to stronger ones.
1. Passwords are keys to your personal information online
Used with an email address or username, passwords are the key to your user accounts. No surprise there. But have you considered that user accounts include much important personal information? Many services across the internet require us to fill personal information in order to function. Of course, you could always give false information. But in case of, for example, a shopping app, you have to include correct information.
If a hacker gets to know your email and password combination you use to access your profile, they get access to all the personal information in that profile.
2. You are not the only one in control of your passwords
Probably no other person knows your password. But it is saved in the database of each web service you use. You can protect your information on your own device with security measures such as antivirus and VPN. However, user accounts in internet services are beyond your control.
There is nothing a single user can do to prevent services from getting breached. No matter how careful you are, if a service you use gets breached, your information gets compromised. And there are new breaches all the time.
3. A reused password endangers other profiles as well
Most people reuse passwords in multiple profiles. In case a hacker gets your password, they will most likely try it on other popular services. Typically, hackers try to access profiles in which people include credit card details, such as Amazon, eBay, Netflix etc.
If you reuse passwords, a seemingly trivial profile getting breached is no joke. Using unique and strong random passwords on every profile limits the damage of a breach only to the breached account.
Using a unique password saves time when you need to change your password
After a breach you will have to change your password to secure your account. When you use a unique password, you will need to change only that password in case of a breach. If you used the same password on other accounts, you would have to change the password for every other account.
It takes a lot of time to change all passwords. During that time your accounts can be taken over. Criminals will always try to use breached personal information as fast as possible to gain benefits. After a breach, time is of essence.
What makes a strong password?
First rule is, do not use the same password on any other account. Whatever password you have, use it only on one profile.
A good password is hard to guess. You can form one using long sentences, obscure strings of characters and numbers. The point is that anyone trying to get through the security can’t do it by just guessing the password. Many people use the names of their children or pets as passwords. Sometimes this information can be snooped from social media.
The strongest passwords are the ones even you can’t remember. Password managers help you store your strong random passwords. When using a password manager, you only have to remember one password to access all the others. With a password manager you won’t forget your passwords.
Other things you can do to secure your accounts
For an additional layer of security, enable two-factor authentication whenever possible. Even if your strong password gets compromised in a breach, criminals will have to get through another barrier. Meanwhile you have time to change your password.
It’s also a good idea to check if your accounts and passwords have already been included in a security breach. Use F-Secure Identity Theft Checker for a free and safe check.
F-Secure KEY is a free-to-use password manager
F-Secure KEY is an easy-to-use password manager which works on any device. In addition to storing your passwords, KEY helps you create strong random passwords. You can copy them on your clipboard, so you don’t have to type them separately. You can get KEY also as part of F-Secure TOTAL.
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