You can be a newbie to cybersecurity. But you shouldn’t behave like a newbie when managing your passwords. So it’s time to learn to protect accounts like a boss.
More than 10% of people still use a password on the infamous “top 25 worst passwords list.” Aside from “password,” these include awful choices like “123456,” “admin,” and “iloveyou.”
Of course, it doesn’t mean the remaining 90% of people are using secure passwords either. A considerable number of people still fall into the top 10,000 and 100,000 most common passwords category.
If you use any common password, you’re at risk. It doesn’t matter whether your password appears in the top 10 or top 10,000. Hackers can crack it in a matter of seconds.
The Password Newbie Approach
You must have seen plenty of movies where people gain access to accounts by guessing a key password. If it’s not “password” or “123456”, then it’s always a character’s birth date or catchphrase.
It happens way too often in the real world as well. People use simple things like their favorite food or pet names. And any other things that anyone can guess by looking at a social media account.
Newbies also take this approach a step further and re-use the password across a large number of accounts. To top it all off, they then never change these bad passwords keeping them for years or even decades.
It all comes together to create serious vulnerabilities for the password newbie. It only takes one website data breach for all their accounts to be at risk.
Does that sound like you or somebody you know? Then you need to start ditching these bad habits (and teach others) before cybercriminals hit you where it hurts.
How to Up Your Game and Protect Accounts Like a Pro
Pro password skills aren’t complicated. You don’t need to learn a programming language or join an IT security team. Anybody can secure their accounts up to NSA-level standards by following these steps.
Step #1: Forget the Simple Passwords
Brute force attacks can crack a simple password in under a minute. You need to forget about “Fluffy1” and work towards something much more challenging. Use a password generator to create something like “A#$$bQT3nq3y.”
The difference between these is massive. Hackers can crack “Fluffy1” in 1 minute. “A#$$bQT3nq3y” would take years.
Step #2: Use a Password Manager
Who says you need to remember all these passwords? With a password manager, you can generate, store, and manage passwords all in one convenient and secure location.
Password generators come in-built in password manager too. So you can create unique complex passwords like the one above whenever you need a new password.
Password managers have a vast range of additional features as well. For one, you can set up an Android password manager to backup and sync passwords to your phone. You never have to worry about getting locked out of your accounts. Click for more.
And that’s not all.
Password managers can protect you from the threats that keyloggers pose. You never have to type in your password. You only need to click to log in through the dashboard.
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Step #3: Use Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication (2FA) has become a security standard in the last few years. Platforms send you a one-time passcode via email, SMS message, or app every time you log in to an account.
The better 2FA systems also provide information such as the location of the login attempt and the device.
In the end, 2FA combined with a secure password can reduce the chances of your accounts being hacked to almost zero.
Step #4: Check the Reports
You can check right now if accounts with your email account have ever been compromised.
Be sure to make it a habit to review your safety settings on Google, Facebook, and other accounts. It will tell you whether your accounts have suffered any risks or not.
You can also do the same for your credit cards and credit score to make sure no suspicious activity is going on.
Step #5: Use a VPN
A VPN is the easiest way to protect your privacy. VPNs or virtual private networks encrypt data traveling from your device to the websites you visit. It’s not only the files you may upload, but also the moves you make and info you type in. That includes your credentials too.
It means nobody snooping in the middle (from hackers to advertisers or even your ISP) can track what you do online or gain access to your information.
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Time to Adopt a Pro Approach
It’s never been easier to advance to pro-level password skills. Follow these easy steps and encourage your friends and family to do so as well. It will create a much higher level of security for everyone.