All Points Mobile Shredding Blog

Can weak passwords really put you at risk?

Here’s what you need to know

Passwords are a pain—we can all relate to how annoying it is when you can’t remember your password or you’re prompted to change your password on a regular basis. As annoying as the whole password business is, the fact remains that using passwords is a required part of all of our lives, without them we couldn’t do any number of things we do, including online banking, paying creditors, engaging on social media, even something as simple as paying the electric bill.

But experts report that most people make poor choices when creating their password, even though they understand that it is their first line of defense against hackers and thieves. Also, weak passwords are a greater risk than people understand—in fact, the 2018 Verizon’s Data Breach Investigation report found that 81 % of hacking-related breaches occurred because of weak or stolen passwords.

What classifies as a weak password?

Believe it or not, there are those who still use 1234 or the word password as their password. And, there are folks who think their name, their birthday or the pet’s name are more secure—but in reality, these are no stronger. It’s all too easy for unscrupulous people to search you on social media and find out your name, your children’s or pet’s name, even your birthday, your hometown and other personal information that is a window to your password.

Beat the hackers!

Each year, certain passwords become more popular, like words that have to do with a hit movie (Solo, Skywalker, Spiderman, etc.) or sports terms (baseball, touchdown), but the problem is that hackers are not only aware of these trends, they know just how to break through to get your password. Another important consideration to keep in mind is that experts say that if you use words that can found in the dictionary, or that are all lowercase, you’re setting yourself up for an eventually breach. Instead, add a number or two and use a special character, don’t be afraid to use uppercase letters and mix it up—using letters, numbers and special characters intertwined makes it harder for hackers and bots to break the code.

Follow these password best practices:

Although you’re busy and you might think of it as an annoyance, you can now understand why weak passwords can put you at risk. In addition to creating a strong password, here are some more important steps to follow to protect yourself:

Create unique passwords for each account you have: Don’t use the same password for everything, this is exactly what hackers expect.

Make it long: Shorter passwords are riskier, make your passwords at least 8 characters.

Change your password often: Some of your accounts will prompt you to change your password on a regular basis, but if not, it’s recommended that you change your password often, at least every 6 months.

Keep it to yourself: Don’t share your password with anyone, even your best friend. Although it seems harmless, it’s all too easy for someone to use it, share it with someone else or even write it down on a sticky note where it can be viewed by someone else.

Use multi-factor authentication where available: On some devices you can set up a two-step authentication process, if you have the option, do it. This reduces the risk of a breach, even if a hacker gets past your password.

With all the advantages technology affords us comes the risks associated with it. One step to keeping your information secure is creating a strong password for each of your accounts and changing it often.

And remember, to protect yourself and your family from identity thieves be sure to shred all your old documents and hard drives. Give us a call at 800.696.8483 to find out how we can help you with all your shredding and destruction needs.

Dawn Connelly

Dawn is the vice president of All Points Mobile Shredding. All Points Mobile Shredding is a family-owned and operated on-site document destruction company that has been serving the Treasure Coast, Palm Beaches, and surrounding areas since 1994.

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