Spend a considerable amount of time online and it is likely that several of the websites you visit will require that you to enter a username and password for access to the information. Remembering all those passwords is a challenge, which is why so many people admit to using the same access codes for multiple sites.
If you are one of those people, you should know that you are greatly increasing your risk of becoming a victim of cybercrime. According to Roy Charles, who provides IT support in Croydon, “One of the most crucial things you must know about cyber security is the importance of not re-using the same password. It is the simplest to implement, and most fundamental of all security steps.”
Most people are already aware of the danger of writing passwords on a sticky note and keeping it next to the computer. Reusing your passwords is just as dangerous. The truth is if hackers do figure out your password, the first thing they are likely to do is test it on other sites. You may be careful not to share personal information on your favorite social networking website, but you have far more to lose if a hacker gets into your bank account or gains access to your credit card information.
Experts in the field compare reusing passwords to having a single key that provides access to your home, car, storage unit, and other physical locations. Now imagine giving a copy of your key to every person that you know or meet. Now everyone can access your personal space. A password breach is even more dangerous because anyone can copy your key and use it from any remote location with a connection to the Internet.
You are also at risk if you use your birthdate, your anniversary, your pet’s name, or any other personal information that may be floating around in cyberspace in an inconspicuous place. Hackers are smart people and they understand human nature. These are all common references because people are so afraid they will forget a password if it does not relate to something they can easily access by memory.
Hackers already have sophisticated systems in place to capture passwords on all kinds of sites. By reusing the same password for access to multiple sites, you just make it easier for them to gain access to your confidential information. Many experts feel passwords are now an outdated form of authentication, and they are hoping that companies start implementing more secure authentication systems.
Some sites are now implementing two-factor authentication for access. This process involves sending the user a code on a smartphone. The user must then enter the code before logging in with a password. In some cases, users can set their computers to save passwords for 30 days and require an authentication code only when logging in with a new device. While many social network websites and email services offer the more secure two-factor authentication, far more sites do not.
You must remember that not all websites have the same level of security. Your financial institution may maintain an extremely high level of security to keep your data safe. The problem is if you use the same password for a site with a low level of security and a hacker can steal your information from that site, he or she now has access to the password for the more secure site. A single data breach on any of the sites you visit puts your information on every site at risk. By using the same access code, you have just made it easier for the hacker to access what matters to you most.
Using a password manager is an effective way to manage passwords and keep them secure. These applications can also store information for pass phrases, security question answers, and PINs. Many of them can even help you in filling on online forms, simplifying your online experience. Applications encrypt the information, and all you have to remember is one master code to receive the benefit of having unique codes for every site you visit. Experts recommend using this type of application for anyone who has multiple accounts requiring login information for access.
As risky as it is to use identical passwords for several websites, most people give into the temptation simply because they think it makes life easier. If you think creating unique passwords for every site you visit is a hassle just consider the alternative. Imagine the inconvenience to you if a hacker gains access to your bank account and steals your life savings. When you think about the consequences, creating and maintaining multiple passwords does not seem that difficult after all.
Roy Charles has authored a free guide to Cyber Security which is avalable upon request from;
6 – 20 Burrell Row
Tel: 0208 663 4000