It’s a Friday night and you’re driving home from work. You pull up to your driveway and head for the front door, only to walk into one of your worst nightmares.
The door is wide open and all of your most valued and some irreplaceable belongings are gone. You retrace your tracks and suddenly feel sick to your stomach. You didn’t lock the front door.
This scenario is waiting to happen to anyone, but not through physical doors. These doors are in the virtual world, and what thieves are after is bank account numbers, social security numbers, home addresses and other types of personal information.
Millions of people leave their virtual doors wide open with weak passwords and no password protection strategy, just waiting for a hacker to guess and have all of your identifiable information at their disposable.
Over the next four weeks Macate is covering online privacy protection, the most common privacy mistakes people make and online privacy solutions.
Believing and treating your password like it’s invincible and only accessible by you is the first step people take to creating bad online privacy habits. With 4,000 cyber attacks a day, people are on the prowl and looking for accounts with predictable passwords and easy to crack password protection tactics.
Below are four different tips to increase your password protection.
Password = 12345
Be creative when choosing your password. Yes, choosing a difficult password is hard to remember, but write it down, memorize it, do anything you can and avoid using easy to guess passwords. SplashData, a password and record management company gathered a list of the top 25 worst passwords of 2015 based off of 2 million leaked passwords. The top 5 passwords are:
If your password made the list you should probably change it.
Reusing the same passwords
More online accounts equal more passwords to remember, on top of the 30 other things in life that you’re trying not to forget. But if a hacker discovers the password to your social media account, there’s a high chance that they’ll try to use it for your bank account, email account, Netflix account, etc. Password Boss, a password management company says that
59% of people reuse their password for multiple accounts
A survey by Telesign, polled 2000 people in the U.S. and UK, and 40% of the people who reused their password had encountered a security incident within the past year. Although it’s tedious to think up and memorize another password, it’ll cause less grief than finding out someone took over your Twitter and later $5000 out of your bank account.
Create a separate email account for your password retrieval
It may seem a little excessive and paranoid, but you’ll sleep peacefully at night knowing that all of your personal information is safe. If a hacker discovers your social media account, your Uber account, and your taxes are all linked to one email, odds are that they’ll put all of their time and efforts into hacking that email. Once they gain access, they can receive and reset the password to all outside accounts linked to that email. Lower your chances of a security breach, and create a separate email account for password retrievals.
Don’t tell the truth
You and a handful of other people know your mother’s maiden name, and that can easily be found through ancestry.com and a dozen other online sites. The name of your first pet can probably be found after digging through a couple of your social media accounts. For security questions, people would like to believe that they and only people closest to them know the answer, but the sad reality is that a complete stranger can figure them out. So don’t enter in the real answers.