How much thought do you put into your online security? These days there are so many different networks and services to sign up to and be a part of, it gets to the point where remembering all of the various login credentials can be a particularly arduous task. It’s not surprising therefore that we often either reuse the same login information for different online accounts or create incredibly simple passwords.
This can make things easier for you to remember how to login to Facebook or speed things up when trying to order something from Amazon, but if you’re using the same key for lots of different locks, think of the potential damage that could occur if that key were to fall into the wrong hands. It seems that rarely a week goes by without news of another dataset being breached by hackers who steal the login information of countless users for an online service. Just last week over 450,000 Yahoo Voices users had their email addresses and passwords posted online.
While there is little that individual users can do to prevent such attacks, a blog post published today revealed the shocking simplicity of password choice by a frightening proportion of web users. Strings of consecutive numbers or letters are commonplace, as is the practice of combining consecutive numbers with the name of the service the password grants access to.
These passwords are often used to login to a number of different networks, so if for example a hacker was to discover the password for your web-based email account, they would feasibly be able to rifle through the content of many other online services that you use.
Many websites tell you how strong your password is when you are either creating or editing account information, so you’d be advised to make sure you heed their advice and come up with something containing upper and lower case letters, as well as numbers.
Of course, trying to remember lots of different passwords and variations of memorable information is very hard indeed – I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve clicked ‘Forgotten Password?’ while trying to login to some service or another. However, if you are going to use the same password across many different sites, make sure it’s a strong password that is seemingly obscure to anyone else, but is something that only you would be able to remember or understand.
Unfortunately there are people out there who will attempt to fraudulently gain access to our accounts for malevolent purposes – the best we can do as individuals is to make it as hard as possible for them to crack our passwords.