13 Jun 2018

How to Win at Password Laziness

“Password1”, “Password2”, “Password3”, or the ever-popular and bullet-proof “Password123”. Sometimes you even get fancy and add an exclamation point to the end (when forced to). Are any of these ringing a bell? Did I just guess your password?

Managing a list of passwords for every website you use can be a hassle, especially for the unorganized that live by their sticky notes or those of us that do well to remember our own names on most days. Some websites require a special character, others require at least one uppercase letter, and then there’s the tormenting secret question ordeal if you happen to have forgotten your password. What was my high school mascot’s middle name again? Let’s face it – it’s easy to just use the same three passwords for everything. After all, it’s more secure than just using ONE password for everything, right?

Sounds easy, but there’s a problem with that strategy. Let’s say you have a Gmail account, an Amazon account and a couple of retail website accounts. You use the same password on all of those sites, and you just found a great coupon site and signed up there using the same password. One day the coupon site gets hacked. Now the cyber thieves have your credit card information and a list of all the users’ logins and passwords for that website. The crooks sell that list on the Dark Web to other cyber thieves that try your username/password combination on popular websites such as Amazon, Facebook, banking websites and sites like Gmail and Yahoo to try to gain access to your accounts.

Once they are successfully logged in to any of these sites as you – they can assume your identity and do all sorts of malicious things like moving and redirecting money, or sending ransomware emails to your coworkers and taking the entire company down.

That’s why it’s so important to have separate passwords for every website and application that you use. Good news! There are plenty of password management programs out there that take the hassle out of managing a list of separate passwords for every website. These applications plug in to your web browser and keep up with passwords for you. Now all you need to remember is your password for the password manager app. So, you just went full circle. Back to one password for everything. Laziness prevails, but at least now you’re safer and smarter.

CNet’s list of best password managers for 2018.

Today’s blog author is Rafe Martin, Sales and Marketing Director at ComTech.