What if one day you wake up and discover that all your personal data has been compromised? Whether that is financial data, health data, or just your favorite family vacation memories, it sounds like a nightmare, right? It could happen if you don't protect your personal electronic accounts and devices’ passwords from hackers.
Hackers are hungry for passwords because of all the substantial monetary values they can find behind them. A ForgeRock report found attacks involving passwords increased by 450% from 2019 to 2020. It is a significant increase that you need to be aware of because everyone can be a target now due to all the tools like phishing kits that can be bought online by anyone.
Passwords are not just a mix of letters and numbers. Passwords are the key to keeping your most important information safe, so it's more important than ever to use strong passwords.
On Change Your Password Day we show you how to protect your passwords from hackers and keep your digital life safe.
Before you can start protecting your passwords from hackers, you need to know how passwords can be hacked. Here is a list so you can start recognizing any attack as soon as the hacker makes the first move.
One way someone’s password can be cracked is by Credential stuffing which happens when an attacker takes a long list of usernames and passwords from a data breach and tries them on other services. For example, banking websites, to see if the same passwords were used and therefore give them access to the account.
Malware is another popular way to get your passwords. This type of attack is often done through phishing emails, but you could also get infected by clicking on a malicious ad online (called "malvertising") or by going to a website that has been hacked (drive-by-download).
You might want to read: Five simple ways to prevent identity theft in 2023
If an attacker knows the username or has a list of usernames, but not the password, he can still try to guess it by looking at a list of the most common passwords, like 12345, abc123, and qwerty. This is called "password spraying” and works best when it is done with a lot of different usernames.
As you can see, there are many ways to compromise your passwords, which is why it is necessary to start protecting them and keeping them safe. By following a few password security tips, you can drastically reduce the chances that your accounts will be hacked. Here are some to take into consideration:
Your job is to create passwords that are hard to break. The best passwords are long and complicated, which makes them harder to guess.
Take note of the ways to make your passwords stronger: Make each password at least 15 characters long. Use both small and capital letters, numbers, and punctuation marks. Don't use your real name or any part of your email address. Avoid using anything that could be found on social media, like your birthday or the name of your pet.
Another golden rule to protect your passwords from hackers is to change them every three months. But if you get a security threat, a Google alert, or signs of malware on your devices, then it’s time to do a complete password-change sweep.
Let's not forget that each account should have a different password. Do yourself a favor and don't use the same password on multiple accounts. If a hacker finds it, all the information that the password protects could also be stolen.
Also read: How to Keep Your Laptop Safe While Traveling
Continuing with best practices, do not type passwords into computers you do not control. When using your laptop at an Internet café, you should avoid doing anything that requires a username and password, like online banking or shopping, because your data could be stolen over the wireless network or with keystroke logging devices.
Your password, like your money, should be kept somewhere safe, not under the bed. Don't be tempted to put your passwords under your keyboard or your monitor. The stories about hackers getting passwords by "shoulder-surfing" and "dumpster diving" are completely true.
You can also use a password management tool to keep hackers from stealing your passwords. Using a platform that stores your list of usernames and passwords in encrypted form is one way to safely store and remember passwords.
We understand that it is not easy to keep all your passwords in mind, and for that reason, HelpYouFind.Me is also designed to store your passwords and have access to them with your own keys whenever you want.
Our mission is to make people feel safer and more secure by giving them a place to store all their important information and share it with their loved ones in case of an emergency.
Discover more about our features here.
By taking these steps to protect your passwords, you can rest easy knowing you are doing all you can to protect your private data.
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) adds an extra layer of security by making you prove your identity with something other than a password when you log into an account on a new device or from a new location. For example, a text message is sent to a user’s personal mobile phone when trying to log in to their emails.
You might be interested in read: How to take care of your digital footprint
However, this is not without its own faults, as hackers have found ways to circumvent that obstacle. SMS interception is the most common method. This is when text messages that are in transit are taken over.
The first step is to find ways to protect your passwords from hackers, but it has to become a habit and complement other good practices so you can minimize cybercriminals' attacks.
Do you use any of these suggestions? Feel free to post your suggestions about how to protect your passwords.
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