Are Your Passwords Secure?

Everyday online, private accounts are breached due to weak, easily hackable passwords. Many passwords are so weak that they are useless due to their simplicity. The Federal Trade Commission reports that consumers identity theft is their number 1 online concern. Using a password for multiple sites is the equivalent of giving someone a skeleton key to access your online accounts.

Every year, Splashdata releases a list of the worst passwords. Some items included on the list were children’s names, curse words, sports teams, and sequential keys on a keyboard.

Online security expert Mark Burnett says,

The bad news from my research is that this year’s most commonly used passwords are pretty consistent with prior years. The good news is that it appears that more people are moving away from these passwords. In 2014 the top 25 passwords represented about 2.2% of passwords exposed. While still frightening, that’s the lowest percentage of people using the most common passwords I've seen in recent studies.”

Biometrics is a new, revolutionary concept for password protection that has become more popular in recent years. Biometrics identifies distinctive and measurable characteristics of individuals. Physical characteristics identifies fingerprints, palm veins, face recognition, DNA, palm print, hand geometry, retina and iris recognition, and odor/scent. Behavioral characteristics relate to human behavior such as typing rhythm, gait, and voice.

Although this is all very technical and the general public typically doesn't have access to this sort of technology, there are steps you can take to make sure your online accounts are safe from people trying to access your information.

Customizing a password for each of your accounts is a safe and easy way to keep your information secure. Think of a keyword you will use for each website. For example, let’s use “Smile.” When creating an account, use that keyword plus another that identifies the website. “Smilebooks” would be sufficient for the Barnes and Nobles website. To make this password extra secure, adding numbers and special characters help. “Smilebooks975&” is much harder to guess than something you've been using for years for all the same accounts because it is personalized for this specific website.

Password Tips

  • Don't use personal information in your passwords that people can easily guess

  • Use lowercase and capital letters

  • Include special characters and numbers

  • Don't use the same password on multiple sites

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