Pesky Passwords

When do I change my password – and why?

The familiar message pops up from Outlook or Office 365: “Your Password Expires in 30 Days.” If you’re like most technology users, procrastination is the easiest answer, so we wait and watch as the expiration date draws closer… 30 Days… 20… 10… 3 days. Pretty soon an unexpected vacation day puts you behind the 8-ball and your account is locked.

Surely, your first thought is “Why do I have to change my password… AGAIN???”

There are many reasons for this frequent request, so we thought we would shed some light on this practice… and maybe some ways to alleviate the stress!

> Protection of various platforms

If you’re like most users, the fear of forgetting your password inclines you to use the same password for multiple technology platforms. According to a poll taken by Cyclonis in 2018, over 80% of users admitted that they use the same password for multiple websites or services.

As passwords become compromised, the risks are not solely in the account that has been hacked, but in the accounts that same password opens. As malicious hackers obtain login credentials, their goal is to apply these credentials to as many applications as possible with the hope of unlocking your banking information, social media account, or business email.

By ensuring your passwords are different for every website, you mitigate the risk of having your Facebook password grant access to your savings account!

> Shuts down permanent access to your account:

When hackers find a way to obtain your password, they will not act immediately. Instead, their practice is to do nothing, allowing them to watch and observe while you continue to operate as normal.

Hackers are usually cultivating your password through a database breach (something totally out of your control). Instead of hopping in and taking data, the hacker will sit on the information, carefully observing your activity within Facebook or email. Once this hacker has your key information, they’ll attempt to breach your banking information or sell the information on the Dark Web (blog post coming soon!). They’ll even begin imitating your actions in attempt to coerce a colleague or friend to buy gift cards for them or even send money to a bank!

Regularly changing your passwords can shut off the flow of information to the hacker and save you from an embarrassing request at work or sending money to your boss!

Now that you understand the importance of changing your password, it’s time to uncover some simple ways to make life easier!

> Public Networks Are Inherently Less Secure

Many websites have taken the step to secure their network using the secure HTTPS connections that encrypt the data going back and forth. The purpose of this is to protect people that are accessing Wi-Fi in hostile environments from attackers sitting on the open-end Wi-Fi searching for victims. At the end of the day, free hotspots are always going to be less secure than your home or office network.

> How can you be sure to protect yourself

You can check to see if the network is secure by looking in the URL for https with a small green lock next to it. If there is not a green lock with https, it is best to not enter the network for your own protection. The problem with apps, whether on a phone or other device, is that there is no way of checking if the network is secure because it does not show the URL. A study showed that nearly 38% of apps do not do anything to protect your data while connected to a network which results in all passwords and usernames being displayed in the open while not being encrypted.

Educational Events Coming Soon!

As we uncover more issues with password management and security culture, we’ll be hosting lunch and learns to dive headfirst into how you can manage your passwords and keep off the dark web.

Find out how we can help...