How many online accounts do you have? From email and banking to cloud storage and web hosting, you probably have well over a dozen work-related accounts. To access these accounts, you’ll typically be required to enter your username and password. While reusing the same password for all your accounts may seem harmless, it poses several potential problems.
The Rise of Reusing Passwords
According to a survey of 2,000 users conducted by LastPass, nearly six in 10 people reuse the same password for multiple accounts. Researchers found that the main reason people reuse their passwords is because it’s easier to remember. If you create a unique password for 12 accounts, that’s a dozen different passwords you’ll have to remember. Reusing the same password, on the other hand, means you’ll have to remember a single password.
Why Reusing Passwords Is a Bad Idea
Reusing the same password leaves all of your accounts vulnerable to intrusion. Savvy hackers and cyber criminals realize that millions of people reuse the same password. As a result, they’ll often attempt to log in to various accounts using a stolen password. If a hacker steals the password to your cloud storage account, for instance, he or she may attempt to log in to your banking account with the same password.
It’s just poor cybersecurity etiquette to reuse the same password for multiple accounts. It only takes a single breach to jeopardize the integrity of all your accounts, and with data breaches increasing at an alarming rate, this isn’t a risk you should take.
Create Unique Passwords
While it’s more time-consuming than reusing the same password, you should create a unique password for each of your accounts. Whether you have 10 accounts or 100 accounts, create a unique password for each of them.
If you struggle to remember your passwords, consider using a password management tool. It will automatically store your passwords, as well as your usernames, in an encrypted file. After logging in to the tool using your “master password,” it will then automatically log in to your accounts using the stored passwords.
In addition to making them unique, you should create long and nondescriptive passwords. Rather than using common words or phrases in your passwords, use a random sequence of letters, numbers and special characters. By increasing the complexity of your passwords, your accounts will be better protected against intrusion.