Today, we will show you the 11 password management mistakes you should avoid.
We all know the importance of keeping our passwords safe. According to the 2019 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR), passwords are still a major security challenge. The data showed that 80% of hacking-related data breaches involved passwords.
It's difficult to manage passwords. Given the number of accounts we have, password management is one of the toughest things to do. For this reason, users find it difficult to maintain standard password hygiene.
Malicious actors are relentlessly coming up with strategies to steal passwords. They use many tactics to cause data breaches.
Hackers take advantage of password-related mistakes to wreak havoc. We’ll discuss 11 password management mistakes you should avoid.
Table of Contents
Password Management Mistakes You Should Avoid
1. Using One Password For Many Accounts
Accessing different accounts with one password is a common practice. It’s done for the sake of convenience. Managing a set of passwords is an uphill task. As a result, users tend to simplify their lives by using a single password for different accounts. Whatever the reason is, this practice is bad.
What do you think will happen when such an “almighty” password is stolen?
According to The 2019 State of Password and Authentication Security Behaviors Report, 51% reuse passwords across their private and business accounts. The same research revealed that 69% share passwords with colleagues to access accounts.
Truth be told, users prefer a login method that doesn’t involve the use of a password. Managing several passwords can be tough. Meanwhile, it’s a task worth undertaking.
Are you weary of manual password management? There is a better alternative. A password manager will do the magic for you.
2. Easy to Guess Password
Another password management mistake is to use “12345” or “ABCDE ” as a password. Simple and popular passwords are easy to guess. Today, the average person has many passwords to manage. Consequently, we tend to use simple passwords in order not to forget.
Avoid simple passwords like using your name, phone number, or a combination that is easy to track. Increase your chances of being safe by making your password strong.
What are the features of a strong password? A strong password is long enough (at least eight characters), and has a combination of upper case, lower case, special signs, and numbers.
Learn how to create hack-proof passwords. Hackers are relentlessly deploying password cracking techniques. Creating strong passwords will help boost your online safety. Better still, why not consider getting a reliable password generator?
3. Storing Passwords
Avoid storing your passwords on paper or digitally. If you do, it can be stolen by people with malicious intent. We’re always tempted to write down passwords. It's dimmed a convenient way to keep passwords handy.
However, experts speak against that. Use a password manager instead. Password managers offer convenience and reliable security.
4. Not Logging Out of Platforms
Do you make this mistake? I do sometimes. Many people are fond of this shortcoming. The point is this when you fail to log out, you make it easy for malicious actors to steal your information.
Hackers scour the internet for weak accounts. Compromising your account and stealing your login credentials is easy when you keep open doors by not logging out.
What if someone around you has malicious intent? By not logging out of platforms, you make it easy for those targeting you to succeed.
Be careful when you use a public device to access your accounts. After using a public computer make sure you log out. If you fail to do this, anyone who uses the computer after you could access your accounts.
Remember, malicious actors are consistently in search of such costly mistakes. They thrive by taking advantage of users’ inefficiencies.
5. Using Dictionary Words
Hackers use Dictionary Attack programs to search for dictionary words. To have a strong password, avoid password dictionaries. Complicated hackers have software that searches through thousands of dictionary words. With such tools, common passwords can be plugged into password fields.
6. Using Username as Password
Another password management mistake is to use a login username as the password. This is wrong. A typical login page requests a username and a password. So, people looking for simplicity, use their usernames as passwords. Using partial or full login ID is not advisable.
Another similar mistake is using your email username as a password. This is bad because email addresses are used as login usernames as well. Apart from that, email addresses are shared widely. Using them as passwords is a bad idea.
7. Storing Passwords in the Web Browser
What do you do when a browser offers to save your password? You hit “save”, right?
Hackers target vulnerabilities in browsers. So, your login details may end up in the hands of hackers. Each time a browser offers to save your password, decline honorably.
It's better to scratch your head and remember your login credentials than to lose precious data. Relying on browsers for password management is not a smart move. Browsers don't offer the level of password security required.
8. Using Personal Information as Password
We use our first names, phone numbers, second names, pet names, hobbies, favorite actors, and what have you, to create passwords. Do you know what it entails? Anyone determined to hack your accounts can do that by doing a little research about you.
9. Using Popular Words
Research has shown that there are popular words that many people use as passwords. One such word is ” love”. Avoid using a well-known word for a password. This practice makes it easy for malicious actors to trace passwords.
10. Using Adjacent Characters on Keyboard
This practice is known as password walking. The research revealed that people type in adjacent characters on the keyboard. This is done to make recalling passwords easy. Experts discourage this tactic.
11. Changing Passwords Often
Information security officers advise us to change passwords occasionally. It should not be done more often than necessary. Doing it too often gives way to weak passwords. Some, trying to change passwords, end up recycling the ones they have used before.
Convenience is the major reason people make all these password management mistakes. It's understandable why you may want to keep your passwords as simple as possible. However, there are better alternatives. Therefore, I strongly recommend password managers. It offers the two things we are looking for – convenience and security.
Note: This is a guest post by Anyalebechi Elisha.