Passwords: The importance of uniqueness

Couresty of: Stay Smart online

29 May 2018

Passwords are the first line of defence to protect yourself from cyber criminals.

Cyber security experts continually advise that passwords should be strong and unique. With so many accounts online, while we may have gotten better and stronger, many of us still haven’t quite achieved unique.

Uniqueness is incredibly important. Everyday websites are hacked and login account credentials are stolen and published online.

Hackers try and use these same credentials on other sites to access other accounts. For example, perhaps you used an email address and password combination on an online shopping website. You may have also used that same combination on an insurance account, social media account, email account, blogging website and even a professional account.

By stealing one set of credentials, the hacker potentially has access to all your personal information—enough to commit identity fraud, convincingly scam you or clean out your bank accounts.

But how to remember so many unique passwords?

We hear you—remembering so many passwords is a daunting task but there are tools you can use to help.

Use a passwords manager

You can install a password manager on your computer, smartphone or tablet. It will generate and remember secure passwords for you and many will store everything offline so it isn’t easy to breach.

Use two-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication simply means there are two checks in place to prove your identity. For example, a code sent to your mobile phone, a pin number or a biometric credential.

If your bank password was hacked and you had two-factor authentication activated on your account, the hacker couldn’t gain access. They would need both levels of authentication.

Check your exposure

You can check if your credentials have been exposed in a data breach here. If they have been exposed, change them immediately on all vulnerable accounts.

Read more about strong passwords and two-factor authentication.