Hey You – Update Your Passwords and Start Using a Password Tool (it’s way easier than writing them down!)

I’ve known friends and family who have had their email account, social media account, bank account, online identity and numerous other things hacked because of a terrible password or a poorly timed “click here” link on social media.

Or I’ve been helping friends and family with their technology and when they need their password to login, this results in a frantic look around to find “the folder” (or the sticky note, or the back of the napkin 🤣) where their passwords are written down (if you’re one of my friends and family reading this, there’s no judgement but this post is for you! 😜 haha).

There’s got a be an easier and better way, right? There is.

First off, why do you need a “strong” password, and what is a “strong” password really?

You need a strong password since a NordPass study showed that 86% of cyberattacks use stolen credentials, and online accounts, emails and passwords make up almost 20% of the most commonly sold items on the dark web. And if you re-use your passwords, if any service you have used that password on gets hacked, then your password you used is out there for anyone to see. Plus hackers use those passwords with other combinations to see if they can gain access to anything that might be accessible. And probably not surprising, it’s a real pain if you are hacked, and it can even have some serious monetary consequences.

So what’s a strong password? Simply put, it’s a password that is hard for a computer to guess. Techies call this “password entropy”, which is a measurement of how unpredictable, and therefore un-guessable, a password is. Most of us don’t have passwords that pass the entropy test. For example, “123456” and “admin” were two of the top passwords used in 2023, which can easily be guessed. Other passwords that use basic letters or numbers, without capitals or special characters, are also easily guessed by a computer.

If you’re interested, check out the below website which is powered by Security.org – you can type in any password and it will tell you how strong it is, along with how long it would take a computer to guess it. It’s 100% secure and nothing is stored.

So what do you use instead? Well, you could try and create strong passwords yourself, or use the easy button — a Password tool, like 1Password (which works awesome!). This tool will generate super strong passwords for you, with a high level of password entropy, and it will also save the password for you to your vault (which is protected by a master password + secret key) making it almost impossible to crack. They have plugins and apps to help create, save, and autofill passwords basically anywhere (web browser, device, iOS/Android, etc).

1Password is super easy. Check out a tour of 1Password over here. It’s $36 a year so it is very affordable.

Use this link to sign up for 1Password – https://start.1password.com/sign-up?l=en
(in full disclosure it is an affiliate link but this does not change the price to you)

A screenshot of what an entry in 1Password looks like – it even supports Multi-Factor Authentication!

Lastly, here’s some tips on protecting yourself online. You have to be skeptical. Think you won something on social media? Sorry, but no you did not, it’s a scam that’s been used for several years, and people still fall for it. Avoid clicking on suspicious links, double-check the URL to make sure you are entering data into a legitimate website, and avoid revealing personal information. Even if the message comes from a site you trust, it’s better to avoid clicking on a email link and to instead go directly to their website on your own accord. Legitimate websites will not request that you send passwords or financial information over email. Happy surfing! 👍

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