Are Your Passwords Secure Enough?
Whenever there is news of a major data breach or cyber attack, attention turns to individuals and what we can all do to keep our information safe. We may think that our accounts are secure because they are password protected, but are we really doing all we can to protect our data? Recent studies show that we don’t always make the best choices when it comes to protecting our accounts and using secure passwords.
In an episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live last year, a reporter took to the streets of New York to show how easy it is to get someone’s password. They didn’t just stand over unsuspecting customer’s shoulders at a coffee shop and sneak a peek at the keyboard as they typed in their information. They took a much easier approach. They just asked. It is surprising to watch this video and see the show correspondent pull aside random people and ask for their passwords. The people respond by giving general information at first. As they are probed a little further, they start to reveal more details. Eventually, they reveal their complete passwords or details that make it easy to determine what their passwords are. Asking detailed questions to trick people into giving out information that can be used to determine passwords for hacking is also a form of social engineering. It is a technique often used by hackers to obtain information.
The Jimmy Kimmel video is not the only one of its kind. Buzzfeed also did a similar video last year involving Netflix passwords. Their correspondent actually got several people to give out their Netflix passwords and even got one guy to give his Amazon password. This is shocking considering that there is usually credit card information stored on these accounts for billing purposes. The Buzzfeed reporter actually jokes with the guy that gives him his Amazon password and says that he can get into the account and buy things and use the free shipping. The guy acknowledges this and laughs nervously while still providing the information. What was particularly scary about the Buzzfeed video was that some people were giving out other people’s passwords that they were sharing for Netflix. They were not necessarily compromising their own information, but the information of friends and relatives.
We may not all be naive enough to give our passwords to a stranger on the street, but by having passwords that are not secure, we are almost doing just that. In 2015, the most popular passwords were “password,” “123456,” and “querty” as determined by a cyber security company called SplashData. These were the passwords that showed up the most when passwords were reviewed after breaches. If you use any of these passwords, you need a stronger one. Here are a few tips on how to create a more secure password:
4 Tips on Creating A More Secure Password
Use both letters and numbers.
Use symbols when it is allowed.
Don’t use things that are easy to figure out like your birthday or wedding anniversary (both of which may be in your social media profile).
Don’t use the same password on multiple platforms. This makes it easier to get into all of your other accounts once one is hacked.
Following a few simple rules can help protect you from being hacked. Your private data is important and should be treated that way. A few extra moments spent thinking of a stronger password can save you from the trouble later of having to restore multiple accounts.