While passwords should be your secret keys to the digital world, they are subject to hacking. I am not talking about hacking your computer; I am talking about hacking Wal-Mart, Equifax and companies like Facebook.
Each time a hacker breaches a major company, all their records wind up on the dark web. That means hackers are selling your login name and, of course, your password.
After a few hacker breaches, crooks cross-reference one breach database (with your name) against another to find commonality. There you are, or should I say, there are all your credentials. It doesn’t take a genius to assemble a list with your passwords. Even amateurs can get involved. Just Google “hacking websites.”
You rely on passwords to verify that it is truly you asking for entrance and not some hacker, virus or malicious player trying to gain access to your secrets.
Reusing a password is like having no password
You are a target if you shop online, buy something from a store on the web, check your bank account records online or perhaps trade stocks or buy real estate.
It wasn’t that long ago that we recommended creating a password based upon a favorite activity like shopping, camping or a sport so you could remember it easier. For example, a password using baseball could look something like B@$eBa11.
By now you must know that weak passwords like password, pa$$word or passw0rD are easy hacks and should never – ever – be used.
Use a complex password to protect your secrets and you will be much safer. But, how do you remember a password like X4~rqtz?
A password manager can help
A password manager is a great solution that will keep track of all your website passwords. It will create complex and unhackable passwords for you or make suggestions about the passwords you create.
Remember, you need to change passwords every three months or so. Password manager can do it for you, then update your saved password to the new one.
If remembering and managing multiple passwords is a task or if you are not creative with passwords that you can remember, then a password manager is your best solution. I use KeeperMSP. It is easy to use and stores all your secrets. It is inexpensive and it’s managed for you, i.e. local help is available. Depending on your needs, it costs $4-$8 a month, fully managed, installed and set up for you. Find out more from your friendly Managed Service Provider (MSP).
Now go do passwords right.
William Claney is an independent tech writer and former owner of Computers USA in the Clayton Station. Email questions or comments to email@example.com.