6 password blunders that may get you hacked | #emailsecurity | #phishing | #ransomware | #education | #technology | #infosec


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Don’t recreate this woman’s shocked look. Use a password manager instead. (Photo: Getty)

Passwords are a pain. It’s impossible to remember all of them. Recovering and resetting forgotten passwords can feel particularly annoying, especially when all you want to do is order a pair of shorts. But this hassle pales to the drama of getting hacked, says Samuel Mulder, Ph.D., an associate research professor at Auburn University. A program like LastPass can help you avoid the headache of trying to remember each and every password you’ve ever created while also keeping them secure.

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Here, cyber security experts dish on six common password mistakes — and how to fix them.

1. You give your bestie your password.

It starts off innocently. You forgot your phone at home, and want to check your Insta. So you ask your friend to plug your info into theirs – and bam, they know your password. Months pass, and you and your pal have a falling out. They might still remember your password and can post on your account or snoop around in your DMs. Don’t take the chance. If you ever reveal your password to someone, change it as soon as possible.

2. You use the same password for everything.

Yeah, that makes it easier to remember, but it’s also a gold mine for hackers, says Kevin Cleary, an interim information security officer at the University of Buffalo. Here’s why: Suppose that little on-line shop you ordered a holiday gift from three years ago gets hacked. The cyber criminals have your password. Then they try that password to hack your email, social-media accounts and on-line banking — and low and behold — it works. Moral of the story: You need a different password — and not just a variation of the same one — for every site.

It’s time to get serious about password security. (Photo: Getty)

3. Your password is too short.

Keeping it short and sweet makes it easier to remember, but also easier to hack. In fact, experts say the term password is outdated, and want people to think of it as a passphrase instead. “Enter a complete sentence with punctuation instead of simply a word,” suggests Dr. Mulder. For example, rather than going with the name of your dog, make it “FluffyLovesToPlayFetchWithMe!”

4. Your password is easy to guess.

A lot of people use their name or birthday or some variation of the two in their password. Grandparents often use the names of their grandkids. Sure, it’s cute and makes it simple to remember – but it also makes it an easier target for hackers. In fact, many experts say that the strongest passwords are ones that you don’t come up with yourself. “Use a password manager that will generate passwords for you,” suggests Cleary. A manager, like LastPass, will not only come up with strong passwords—it will remember them.

Try LastPass Premium free* for 30 days

5. You don’t ever change your password. On sites that are highly desirable for hackers — on-line banking, credit card, social media and email — think about the last time you changed your password. If it’s been more than a couple of years, it’s time for a refresh. That’s because password requirements in the earlier days of the web were not as strong as they are now.

6. You opt out of two-factor authentication. Cyber criminals are getting savvier by the minute, and passwords alone don’t fully protect you. When offered, set up the two-factor authentication system. After you enter your password, you’ll receive a text or email with a security code to type in. Unless the hacker has access to your phone or email, they won’t get the code.


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