When did you last reset your password?
Almost every site you use online requires the use of a password. While you might be able to read articles online without one, when you want to make a comment, it is becoming more and more likely that you will need to login to the site with a username and password. Anonymous-type comments are increasingly becoming a thing of the past. Liability issues and hate speech legislation are often behind the decisions made by webmasters who now require this when setting up comment sections for their websites.
Because people are complicated and have more than one interest, it’s very likely that you have more than one site that you use. There’s email, social media, shopping, government sites, your favorite news feeds, game sites, and many others. Because it’s much easier to have a few passwords that are used for several sites, that is what many people do. Computer security experts will warn you, though, that this ease-of-use is exactly what hackers rely on. If they can access one account of yours, chances are high they can use the same password to gain entry into other accounts you have online.
Choosing a password that is unique to each site is the best way to protect yourself online. While it may be a tedious process for you to do, it also makes it that much more difficult for those who want to access your many different accounts.
The longer your password is, the better. Also, using other characters in addition to the traditional letters increases the difficulty level that hackers will encounter. Even with hacking software that cracks passwords, an additional number and special character can add months, or even years, to the amount of time needed to crack that specific password. Using common words or names makes it too easy for an account to be hacked into.
If you do find that you’ve been hacked, there are steps you should take to regain the security and integrity of your account. Changing the password is the first one, and then updating the security questions, if any, should be done next. These can be accessed through the account settings section of your account at most sites.
Hackers do what they do for several reasons. The main reasons are to either gain access to financial info, buy products on your dime, or to just be obnoxious and feel powerful. Remembering that every account you have online is a potential target can help remind you of the importance of not only creating unique and complicated passwords but to also change them on a regular basis. Writing them down in a secure place offline, or even using a password manager, can help you make things easier for you while still making things much more difficult for those who would try to hack into your accounts online.