Password Mayhem

In January of this year, a news report came out about the most popular passwords of 2013. Would you care to guess the top two? Actually, that isn’t nearly as difficult as you might imagine. They were: #1 – 123456; #2 – password.

Some people are just ridiculous, right? But, how often have you gone to a website (one you never plan to visit again) and to get a wee bit of information, you have to register and come up with a password? Suddenly, the current year does not seem like such a bad “secret code” does it? (After all, if you’re like most people, your other registration information was phony anyway. “Yeah, my phone number is 716-555-5555, so there!”)

But chances are you also have passwords for websites and online accounts that hold information you actually do care about protecting. These could include: banking, utilities, retailers, insurance, social media … it’s quite a list and only getting longer. At the same time, you may also have several passwords associated with your place of business. Keeping your passwords straight is even harder if you take your Cyber Security seriously.

One 2012 survey study found that the average person has about eight different passwords. Interestingly, this same study found nearly 40% of those surveyed thought it would be easier to solve world peace than remember all their different codes!

That means NOT using your birthday, your first-born’s name, or the same code for everything. Instead, you need something with at least eight characters-a more-or-less random assortment of upper and lower case letters with a few numbers and special characters thrown in for good measure. In other words, you need a password that you would never remember in a million years.

What Can You Do?

Writing your passwords down is a possibility but do you really want to risk having them fall into the wrong hands?  Instead, one viable option is to put them in a vault-a password vault.

A password vault is a secure, centralized digital repository for storing and managing shared sensitive information such as passwords, PINs and digital identities of enterprises. This convenient utility can follow you around on your laptop, your iPad or your Smartphone to do your remembering for you. A number of companies offer this solution: RoboForm, LastPass, Kaspersky Password Vault, ManageEngine, … to name a few. (Unfortunately, yes, you’ll need a password to get into your password vault.)

Why Password Security Matters

As last Christmas’s Target hackers and people exploiting the Heartbleed bug have demonstrated, there’s no shortage of schemers seeking to steal your private information for sinister purposes. Don’t make it easy for them with lax password security. Even if you need some help managing your passwords, the extra effort will prove worthwhile.