Advertisement

Common mistakes, big problems

Common mistakes, big problems
POSTERIORI/GETTY IMAGES

Password hacking is in the news with alarming regularity. Recently, thousands of Disney+ customers lost their accounts in a mass hack attack within days of the new streaming service’s launch. As reported by The Market Realist, those hacked accounts were then sold on the dark web. While large-scale attacks like this can make consumers feel helpless, there are steps we can all take to protect our passwords and our data. Some of them are common sense (don’t use the same password for every site!), and some aren’t quite as obvious. Read on to learn the most common password mistakes that hackers hope you’ll make. And while brushing up on your cybersecurity knowledge, make sure you know what happens when you ignore those security warnings on your computer.

Choosing an easy-to-guess password

Choosing an easy-to-guess password
PEOPLEIMAGES/GETTY IMAGES

“Common mistakes people make with passwords make them easily hackable. Those mistakes include using easy passwords like birthdays, creating common passwords like 1234, using brand names, pop-culture references, or sports to create a password.” —Elias Manolopoulos, founder of Aeon Ads.

Here’s what you’ll need to do if your data has been hacked.

Not including enough numbers and special characters

Not including enough numbers and special characters
NASTCO/GETTY IMAGES

“Try to inject as many symbols and numbers and a variety of characters that make your password fairly unique for an unknown entity to guess but relatively easy for you to remember. Substituting symbols for alphabets is also a good idea as long as the choice of word is fairly complex, so kr3st3v@798! instead of kresteva798! could work, but decades-old p@$$w0rd! would not.” —Ax Sharma, cybersecurity researcher and engineer.

Here are 7 alarming things hackers can do when they have your email address.

Using the same password for multiple sites

Using the same password for multiple sites
WARCHI/GETTY IMAGES

“Using the same password to log in to every account is a critical mistake that many people make. Even with just one set of log-in credentials, hackers can log into other sites using the same email and password. They, often correctly, assume that users will have the same password across platforms.” —Alex Heid, Chief R&D Officer at Security Scorecard.

These are 17 things cyber crooks don’t want you to know.

Never changing your passwords

Never changing your passwords
ECLIPSE_IMAGES/GETTY IMAGES

“There are some users who recommend changing your password every year, which is reasonable to consider if it isn’t too much of a burden. However, this can be tedious and unnecessary for power users with hundreds of online accounts that already have strong, unique passwords, so in this case, we just recommend changing new passwords as vulnerabilities to affected services are brought to light.” —Colt Agar, Managing Editor at TheTechReviewer.com.

Here are another 11 ways thieves steal your identity.

Creating a password that’s too short

Creating a password that’s too short
STADTRATTE/GETTY IMAGES

“It is advisable to choose passwords of a significant length, preferably greater than 15. This makes passwords resistant to both online brute-forcing as well as offline hash cracking.” —Sudeep Singh, cybersecurity expert and author of the research paper “Breaking the Crypt”

Advertisement

Ignoring data-breach news

Ignoring data-breach news
ZIMMYTWS/GETTY IMAGES

“Data from breaches gets distributed to the bad guys. The data from the LinkedIn breach is out there for anyone to use. If your password gets exposed in one breach, then every account where you reused it is at risk. It is not a question of if your data will get exposed—it is just a matter of when. Unique passwords for each account limits your exposure. Assume you used the same password for 20 sites and one of them gets breached; you now need to change the password on 20 sites instead of one.” —Tom Evans from Ashton Technology Solutions. Be aware of these other clear signs you’re about to be hacked.

Opting for impossible-to-memorise passwords

Opting for impossible-to-memorise passwords
DESIGNER491/GETTY IMAGES

“There are some online password generator services or offline random password generators that generate a long string of random characters which are not possible to memorise. While these passwords look very secure, they are not easy to use due to the difficulty in memorising them. People who use such long randomised passwords tend to save the passwords on a piece of paper or a note on their phone or computer. This makes the passwords vulnerable to discovery by someone else.” —Singh. Plus, your password recovery questions are insanely easy to hack—and you might be to blame.

Storing passwords in places that aren’t secure

Storing passwords in places that aren’t secure
JULNICHOLS/GETTY IMAGES

“There are a number of very secure password-storage services out there. Google has a built-in password manager to its online account that can be used with Chrome and other Google apps. Apple, of course, has its keychain that can store password and account information. And there are third-party providers of password-management services. Unless you fancy carrying around a notebook of passwords at all times—I do not suggest this!—you need to look into one of these solutions.” —Jason David, CEO of Software Portal

Slightly modifying your password

Slightly modifying your password
DIEGO_CERVO/GETTY IMAGES

“Everyone does it. You get the pop-up on your screen, ‘Cannot use the same password,’ so what do you do? Add a number at the end of it and we think we’ve hacked the system. Well, research shows that modifying passwords slightly is extremely common and also very predictable.” —Jay Lee, uAcademy.

 

Never miss a deal again - sign up now!

Connect with us: