Strong security starts with strong passwords, and the best password is a unique password.
If you use the same password for multiple systems—online shopping, email, your company’s cloud bookkeeping solution, etc.—you’re not alone. Even Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg did that. And in 2016 his LinkedIn credentials were compromised in a major breach. That gave hackers access to his Twitter account, too, because the passwords were the same.
The fact is, with just one user password, hackers can often break into multiple applications and systems. Your whole business can very quickly be put at risk. That’s why a good security practice is to have a different, strong password for every account. A breach will be isolated to that account, and the fallout will be much smaller and easier to manage.
Be extra protective of your sensitive accounts
When it comes to ultra-sensitive accounts like company servers or your banking apps, make extra sure the password you use isn’t one you’ve used anywhere else. Banks usually have strong security measures, but even those won’t protect you if someone tries a password you’ve used somewhere else and it works. The consquences could be disastrous.
Email is another big one to safeguard—work and personal. If someone gets into your email, the potential for damage goes up exponentially. They can send out phishing, ransomware, or other malicious attacks to any or all of your contacts, and they’ll seem legitimate because they’ve come directly from you.
Another issue I have come across is when someone has a stong business and banking password, but a weak personal email password as they don’t see it as a high risks. However what they don’t realise is the impact when they use their private email address as the authentication for a changed password on the other accounts. Imagine if the hacker got hold of your personal email and then changed all your other accounts by using your personal email address to accept the changed passwords. Now they have it all…
Be unique and strong
Of course, in addition to being unique, your passwords have to be strong, too. At a minimum, that means making each one long. Pick one with at least eight characters, but the longer the better. If you can use phrases of multiple words instead of a single word, that’s even better still. (And for goodness’ sake, don’t use “password”.)
So why don’t more people use unique, strong passwords for every account?
Usually because they feel like it’s too much work. If you have dozens or hundreds of accounts, having a different password for each one might seem like a royal pain. And long, complex passwords are definitely hard if not impossible to remember.
Fortunately, there are solutions to help manage passwords for you so your brain (or an insecure notebook or spreadsheet) doesn’t have to do all the work. Having the right tools is just as important as having the right practices in place.
If you’d like to learn more about how to manage your passwords, click on the link below to get your FREE eBook on how to “Be Your Own Best Defense Against Cybercrime”