The Password Dilemma

We’ve reached the point in the digital age where everything we do is online. From our bank accounts, to our social media, all the way to unlocking our doors at home when we aren’t there.

Imagine your entire virtual identity hacked, and forever compromised. Don’t think it can happen to you? Think again.

Imagine first getting a notification that your checking account no longer has sufficient funds, then that your credit card has suddenly reached its max credit limit, then that you can’t log into your Facebook. This happened to me about 2 months ago, and that was only the beginning to the whirlwind that I went through in the following weeks.

Yes, I had the same password set for everything – who has time, or mind space, to remember a different password for every website, especially ones that must each contain a capital letter, a number, and a special character? I sure didn’t! So not only were they able to hack into my emails, but also my bank accounts, credit cards, work accounts, Facebook, and even Netflix. Basically, my virtual life was turned upside down. So I decided to do some research and found that this is quite common. So, are you protected? I outlined my research below in hopes to help others.

  • Your passwords are too simple

It takes less than a second for a computer to hack a password using simple words and phrases, including capital letters and numbers. Think about that for a minute, your “HappyGirl123” password isn’t fooling a computer.

To Do: Get creative with your passwords. They should be long, alphanumeric, and completely random.

  • Your passwords are all the same.

As I mentioned earlier, mine were all the same. So when they were able to get into my Gmail accounts, they then were able to try the all the top banks until they were successful, which quickly spiraled out of control to other things. Don’t let this be you.

To Do: Imagine passwords as keys. You wouldn’t have the same key for every door in your life. Mix it up. So how do you remember complicated passwords, different for every website in your life? Try using a password manager. I now use Dashlane which allows you to generate and store unique passwords, all at the tips of your fingers. Check it out!

  • You rely on your browser saving passwords.

Yes, having Chrome and Firefox save your passwords will save you 5-10 seconds of your time, but is that worth a possible identity hack? I don’t think so. Anyone with access to your device will have the ability to log into your websites and access personal information, with no issues.

To Do: Say no to your browser saving your passwords. As I mentioned before, if you really want to save your passwords, look into Dashlane, a password manager.

So all in all, carve out some time to update your passwords across the board. Increase the complexity, make them all different, and only save them in a secure password manager. Not only will you protect your identity from hackers, but you will save yourself time and energy in the long run. Trust me.