How to protect your password and keep hackers away

How to protect your password and keep hackers away

04 September 2020

A password is a set of characters which are used to authenticate yourself when it comes to using computers, websites, emails, social media accounts, etc. Passwords can also give you access to mobile phones, bank applications, and even confidential files.

For many online services and systems, a password is the only thing keeping your personal data safe from hacking attacks. If a hacker obtains that password, they will immediately gain access to your account.

When and why it’s easy for hackers to hack your account

Despite the fact that using a password seems like a safe bet, some large and reliable companies such as Facebook, eBay and Linkedin have been breached. What does this mean? It means that records of more than 540 million users have been compromised, including their passwords. The average cost of data breaches in 2019 cost the global economy around $3.92 million.

So, why is it so easy for hackers to gain access accounts and acquire users’ passwords?

Instead of using different passwords for each account, users tend to use one password over and over again. More than 60 percent of the population use the same password on multiple websites and accounts. It’s hard for many users to keep track of their passwords, so instead of using password managers, they use the same ones over and over again, meaning they can easily become a target to hackers.

Also, people are so predictable because they use some kind of personalization when choosing a password because it’s easier to remember information that they are already familiar with or is meaningful to them. That’s the main reason why users tend to use predictable passwords based on family members’ names and birthdays, or even pet’s names.

On average, users have around 26 accounts that are protected with a password, but use only 5 different passwords. This makes them an easy target to hackers.

It’s shocking that around 85 percent of Americans are memorizing their online passwords in their heads. Since it’s difficult to memorize 26 different passwords, we recommend using a password management program. Unfortunately, only 12 percent of Americans use it.

Despite the fact that it’s recommended to change passwords every 90 days, people have no desire to change them and it’s difficult to remember new passwords.

  • Choosing a password

When you are choosing a password, it’s important to use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. The reason behind this is to make it harder for hackers to guess your password. Unfortunately, people continue to use the same passwords for years, and hackers can guess them with ease.

Every year, a list of the most commonly used passwords worldwide is published online. All of the passwords in this list can be easily hacked just with automated cracking tools. When cybercriminals want to hack into an account, they first use the passwords from this list.

  • The top 5 worst passwords
    • 123456
    • qwerty
    • 12345
    • password
    • 12345678

If you use some of these passwords, you might be in trouble.

  • Easy to remember passwords

Most people choose these passwords because it’s easier to remember them and it only takes a second to type them in. Since they are all lowercase letters or numbers, they require the minimum number of keypresses to enter which is perfect for smartphones.

  • Ignoring password recommendations

When you are making a new account online, you will be encouraged to choose a memorable word or phrase – preferably one that contains upper and lower case letters and numbers to make it harder to guess. However, this isn’t enough to fully protect your account.

  • Using same passwords over and over again

If you tend to use the same passwords, you make it easier for cybercriminals to gain access to all your accounts. For instance, if your Facebook password can be easily guessed, it will be easy to log into your email or online bank account as well. When you are using the same passwords at work, you are putting your systems and data at risk which might lead to your firing.

  • Use strong and unique passwords

It’s recommended to include uppercase and lowercase letters in the middle of the password. Besides numbers, special characters like ?!()* should be included. Also, your password should contain at least 8 different characters. If you incorporate all of these measures, you will increase your security and it will be harder for hackers to guess your password.

You can also use some of the 25 most popular passwords, but instead of one easy password, try stringing several of them together. It may not be a perfect solution, but your password will surely be more secure.

  • Use a password manager

A password manager is a program that can help you store all your passwords in one place. If you have 25 different passwords, it’s recommended to use a password manager. This way you don’t have to memorize all of them, you will only need to remember one master password. This program will help you maintain your online privacy all the time.

  • Install an antivirus software program

Having an antivirus software program will protect all your passwords across the internet. Install your antivirus on all devices and you will be notified about any suspicious activities at all times.

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