Our computer, smartphone and other hand-carry devices are loaded with all kinds of sensitive data. The accessibility of this data in the wrong hands may have a dreadful impact on our online privacy.

The increasing number of cyber scams make data and accounts protection a headache, but one of the possible painkillers is a good password to enjoy some peace of mind.

However, when talking about security, a complicated password isn’t always the better choice.

Sure, you must have heard that the cyber world is full of threats and scams (and it is) and that only complex passwords and a handful of costly software can settle the growing concern. But the irony is, even though our passwords are complex and the security software ever evolving, the number of cyber attacks (happening every 39 seconds) are still increasing and cybercriminals are ahead of our security measures.

If you are one of those who don’t take passwords seriously, than these facts will make you change your passwords immediately

Shocking Insights about Passwords

  • Collection #1 data breach exposed 773 million passwords; it contained 1.16 billion unique email addresses and passwords.
  • A data breach compromised more than 412.2 million accounts of Adult Friend Finder.
  • 145 Million eBay users compromised their names, dates of birth, encrypted passwords and addresses in a data breach.
  • Yahoo announced a data breach that compromised a vast majority of passwords (3 billion users were affected).
  • By 2020, more than 300 billion passwords will require protection from cyber attacks.

Would you mind sharing your email password with me or anyone?

Let me tell you a secret. If your password is weak, you are an easy target; hackers can easily guess it and hack into your personal accounts. One cannot underestimate the lacklustre approach of hackers!

Is your password 123456? Obviously not, right? Who keeps such a silly password — it’s like calling the Devil for dinner.

But, the bad news is that many people do have some very predictable passwords. Let me share with you an interesting list of the Top 20 passwords of 2018; you’ll be amazed!

The Worst Passwords Of 2018 — based on 5m hacked passwords

  • !@#$%^&*
  • 654321
  • monkey
  • 123123
  • football
  • Abc123
  • Princess
  • Iloveyou
  • Qwerty
  • Sunshine
  • 1234567
  • 666666
  • Welcome
  • Admin
  • 111111
  • 12345
  • 12345678
  • 123456789
  • Password
  • 123456, is the most used.

Iloveyou, Qwerty — Seriously?

Anyway, I am not against simple passwords, but the data we store in our smart devices is worth protection. But even complex passwords are not always the only solution.

Though February 1 (change your password day) has already passed, it’s still not too late to manage your password hygiene.

LastPass conducted a survey revealing the psychology of Passwords; take a look!

Top 7 Reasons why hackers love Passwords

  • We use the same password again and again and again: 59 per cent mostly or always use the same password.
  • We don’t take breaches seriously: 53 per cent have not changed their passwords in the last 12 months after listening to the news of data breaches.
  • Our oversaturated brains: 64 per cent say that having an easy-to-remember password is convenient.
  • We treat personal and work accounts similarly: 47 per cent agreed to the fact.
  • We are lazy: 39 per cent find cumbersome to change their passwords.
  • We think we are not hack-worthy: 38 per cent believe that their information is not valuable enough to a hacker.
  • We love old-fashioned spreadsheets: 2 in 5 keep passwords in a Doc file or Excel spreadsheet.

We are one of them, aren’t we?

It’s not only you and me. Even educated employees make blunders and take their password security lightly. Have a look at the short infographic created by Thycotic.

If you are not sure when to change your passwords, here are the most obvious times when you should do this.

Immediately change your password if:

  • A service discloses a security incident.
  • There is evidence of malware or other compromises of your device.
  • You shared access with someone else, and they are no longer using the passwords.
  • There is evidence of unauthorized access to your account; mostly concerning your saved passwords.
  • You’ve logged into the account on a shared or public computer (library or hotel).
  • It’s been a year or more since you’ve change your password, especially if you haven’t enabled multi-factor authentication.

In any of these cases, updating your passwords is a smart precautionary step. A new password means nobody can abuse your account even if they hacked your old one.

Password protection is a key to securing your digital world, but who protects this key? The only thing we are left with is encryption. So, for best encryption, I suggest you go with the best VPN to keep your passwords uber-protected.

Be it your Google passwords or more sensitive ones, updating them regularly is a must. But how? you may ask. Get to know what approach you should go with, to change your password.

How do I change my passwords?

To save your time and make you password-smart, I recommend the following steps:

1. Use one of the best password managers. It’s challenging to know when to update a password, especially when you have no idea how many logins you have. So, it’s better to collect all your accounts in one safe place. A password manager like LastPass or Avast password manager, stores all passwords in an organized and encrypted vault.

2. Passwords audits. Let’s say you have all your saved passwords collected in a vault. Great! Now use the password manager to audit them; you’ll find out which ones need an update and even get to know all your stored logins.

3. Change weak, reused, and/or compromised passwords; they are at highest risk.

4. Prioritize sensitive accounts. Once you’ve updated all weaker and duplicated passwords, now focus towards the most important ones— banking, investments, medical records, email, social media, and taxes.

5. To speed things up, opt for the automatic password change feature. It automatically changes your passwords on nearly one hundred of the most popular sites.

6. Turn on multi-factor authentication where applicable.

Ultimately, my advice is to set up a password system, aided with a password manager. Just don’t overdo it with changing passwords too often. Stay secure!

Image by Darwin Laganzon from Pixabay