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Don’t get Hacked! Use a Password Manager

Your password is one of your strongest tools to protect your accounts and all your personal data. But too many people do not pick out good passwords and then their information is vulnerable. To protect yourself against hackers and keep your online data and identity safe, you need to know all the rules about passwords.

The Importance of Your Password

The first thing we need to look at here is the importance of the password. The password is considered one of the most important things for any system that you would like to use. It is a great way to maintain your own identity online so that no one else is able to view the account at all. If you don’t have a good strong password, it is more likely that someone will guess it and take over the account. A password can be almost anything that you would like. Some organizations may set up certain safety parameters to make sure your password is safe, such as requiring one uppercase and one lowercase letter or some numbers or special symbols. Other websites give you more freedom. No matter the policy in place with that website, picking a strong password is a must. The stronger your password, the harder it is for someone to guess what the password is. Many hackers will try to steal your password with a password cracker, and one method is to just try out all of the most common password types. If your password is on the list, they have a better chance to get onto some of your important accounts.

Ways Hackers Can Get Your Password

Hackers are really good at discovering passwords, especially if you use a really simple password. They are able to try a few different methods to get ahold of your password and use it for their needs. Some of the most common ways a hacker can get your password include:

Password Recycling

Many times a hacker can harvest a list of passwords from a data breach. Passwords and credentials from data breaches are often bought and sold illegally. These passwords can be leaked and other hackers will decide to use them the way that they would like. Using the same email and password for multiple accounts can mean if one account is compromised in a data breach, your other accounts will also be at risk. The hacker is able to use that same password to access all of the sites that they want under your name. The best way to prevent this is to make sure that all of the passwords across your accounts are different and use a password management tool to help.

Wi-Fi Sniffing

This method allows a hacker to get onto your Wi-Fi and access all of the data that goes between you and other systems. This one takes some time because they need to get onto the Wi-Fi and then take the time to figure out where the passwords are located. But once they do, they can get all of the information they want. A good way to prevent against this is to make sure your Wi-Fi is strong and has a good protocol behind it, encrypt everything that is sent between you and another person, and do not use common passwords like your phone number or street address as your Wi-Fi password.

Security Questions

If you happen to forget a password on one of your accounts,  you will need to answer a few security questions before you have a chance to reset the password. Security questions may seem like a good idea, but they are usually weak and if the hacker has gotten ahold of your email or other passwords, they can probably figure it out. A good idea is to answer security questions differently for different accounts.

Dictionary Attacks

This is known as a type of brute force attack. While some sites will disable the account after three failed attempts, the dictionary attack can still be effective on websites that do not require this. To work with a dictionary attack, the hacker will need to run a script of their own that is able to try out all the words in the dictionary. To make this option harder to accomplish, make sure there is a minimum of one capital letter in the password.

Why You Should Have Different Passwords for Each Website You Visit

It is important that you have a different password for all of the websites that you decide to visit. This will help you keep your information safe. If there is a data breach or the hacker is able to gain access to your password on one site, they will try to use that same password on other sites as well. If you used the same password on all of them, then the hacker has access to all of your accounts. However, if you have different passwords on each account, this task becomes harder. Many people worry about remembering all those passwords, especially if they have a lot of them to keep in mind all the time. This is why you should choose a password manager. It can hold onto your passwords safely and make sure that you can get onto each website while the hacker can’t.

Why Should I Have a Long Password?

The longer you can make your password, the better. This makes it even harder for a hacker to get onto your system and gain the information that they need. Shorter passwords are not as tough to work with and can make it easier for the hacker to do any of the tasks that we talked about above. The longer, and more complicated, the password, the better for everyone. If you can, try to make the password into a bunch of letters and numbers mixed together. It shouldn’t even make sense or be readable. This makes it much harder on a hacker. Your password manager can handle the work for you by making sure you can remember those passwords later on.

The Requirements of a Good Password

We have spent some time talking about passwords and learning how important they are for protecting your information. Now we need to look at some of the recommendations that you need to remember in order to write out a good password and keep your data and personal information safe.

If you are using a website that has specific instructions and requirements of their own for creating a password, then make sure to follow those instead. This will make it easier to keep it safe and are often really safe on their own. Some of the requirements you should consider when it comes to picking out a good password includes: It is 12 characters long at least: You should pick out a password that is longer than normal. There is not a minimum password length that each person will agree on, but picking one that is at least 12 characters long will make a big difference. If you can make one that is longer, you are doing even better. You also want to include a good deal of variety in the password. You should include capital letters, lowercase letters, symbols,  and numbers to make sure that the password is as strong as possible.  Don’t use words from the dictionary. Stay away from some of the more common dictionary words or even combinations of dictionary words. This will make it easier for the hacker to do a dictionary attack on you. Do not use substitutions that are obvious. As an example, substituting zero for ‘o’ or 3 for ‘e’ is not good practice. “H0us3” vs. “house” is just too easy to guess.

What Should I Do If I Think Someone Has My Password?

So your password was stolen and now someone else has been able to get onto your account. This can be a big hassle and lead to loss of data, money or worse. Sometimes even the good passwords can be taken if there is a big data breach. Knowing how to handle this situation can help you protect your own data safe. The first step to take is change up your passwords right away. Sign up for some text alerts for your accounts and if something does show up on your account, you will get a notification about this. If you were the one who did make that purchase, then you won’t have to do anything, but if it was a hacker, then you will need to make some changes and changing your password is the first step. If there are any other accounts that have the same password, then you need to change those as well. This leaves a little more protection on your accounts so you know everything will stay safe. If you suspect that someone has gotten your password, there are a few resources you can check out to help see whether your account information is readily available online.

These include:

  1. haveibeenpwned.com: This website holds onto a database of password and username combinations found after a public leak.
  2. LastPass: This website will take a look at all the email addresses in your database and then will check those against a database to see if your information has been leaked.
  3. 1Password: This one works as a password manager as well, but has features that will check out whether your passwords have been leaked.

How Password Management Software Can Help You Keep Your Information Safe

Now that you know how important it is to have some tough passwords that are different for all of your accounts, you may be worried about who you will remember all of these different passwords for your needs. This is where a password manager will come into play. The password manager can take all of the work out of remembering and keep all your data safe. Benefits of using a password manager include:

-You Don’t Need a Good Memory

The main benefit of using this password manager is that it will give your security online a boost. You can make the passwords as strong as you would like without having to remember them. You can make them long with lots of different random characters and symbols and numbers and the password manager will remember it all for you.

-You Can Choose Tougher Passwords

Without having to remember all of those passwords, you can use stronger ones and even go with ones that are a random match of numbers and letters. This helps you to really get something strong that is hard to break through. You can even use a different password for each access point so if there is a breach, it won’t result in everything getting ruined in the process.

-You Have Fast Access to Websites and Accounts

These password managers help you to get onto your accounts quickly. You just need to type in one password and you can then automatically get all of your accounts opened up for you. This helps you to speed up your time without having to type in all of the usernames and passwords and remember them all.

-Password Managers can help with more than just passwords

While the password manager is awesome for helping with passwords, you will find that it can help you to store and manager a lot more than that. For example, some of these are designed to help you store and access the information for your credit card. Others can make it so you need to do more than one step to authenticate it is you so your information and data will stay safe.

-They Help with Managing Any Accounts That are Shared

If you share an account with others in the company, it is important to make sure that you can manage the passwords and only allow those with the right credentials to get one. A password manager makes it easier for you to manage and change the password when it is necessary. Some even have some features so that one person is able to be in control the password on the account while providing access to some other users, without even having to give out the password.

There are many great password managers that you can choose to use to help you keep track of all those complicated passwords you now need to make. Some of the best include:

  1. Kaspersky
  2. Keeper
  3. Dashlane
  4. NordPass
  5. Google Chrome also has a password manager built in for you.
  6. RoboForm

When it comes to your password, the stronger you can make it and the more you monitor your accounts, the easier it is to keep hackers away and protect all of your data. Make sure to check out the tips above to help you take care of yourself online.

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