What The Tech: Bad Passwords

CHARLOTTE N.C. – By now, everyone knows why passwords are the first defense against hackers. Yet, most Americans make the same mistake and use the same bad password for everything.

A new survey by TechRadar and OnePulse shows that over 60% of Americans admit to using the same password for multiple accounts. I imagine the number is even higher. If a hacker manages to get that one password, they can hack into every account that uses it. And how many who have to change a password for work, add only a 1 or 2 to the end, bad guys are smart enough to figure that out.

Here’s how to check if your password has been stolen: Go to “HaveIBeenPwned.com” and enter your email. If it’s been seen through a data breach, that means your passwords may have been seen as well. Click on passwords to see if the old tired password you use has been seen. Don’t be surprised to see hundreds of results.

If you use Google Chrome or Firefox as a primary browser, you can see all of the passwords you use to sign in. Go to myaccount.google.com> Security and password manager. Google does a good job of protecting them, but you should still tighten things up. Click on an account and this eye will show you the password you used to sign in. If it’s the same password for something else, change it. If you no longer use that account, delete it.

In Firefox, go to settings and search passwords which shows all of the passwords stored in Firefox. Each entry will show if the account has been breached.

It’s a hassle to keep up with passwords. Impossible to remember every unique password for all of the accounts you have.

Consider using a password manager such as OnePassword or LastPass. These programs will create unique passwords for every account and store them in a vault that’s accessible by using a second password you create.

You can write that password down on a sheet of paper and hide it within the pages of a book that no one can find. It’s more likely that a hacker steals a password in a data breach than someone finding your piece of paper.