Reusing a password is dangerous, but most everyone does it.

91% of people understand the risk of reusing a password.  Yet, 61% of people still use the same password or a similar password from one account to the next.

Why is this?

Well, according to LastPass, you can blame Cognitive Dissonance for that.  “You know it’s bad for you, but you do it anyways.”  Maybe you rationalize this behavior because you believe that no one would ever want to hack your accounts.  You’re nothing special…  Or maybe you rationalize this behavior because you think you’re way too organized to ever be the target of an attack.  No one could ever get past you…   

But nonetheless, a breach is a breach is a breach.  And if you’re reusing a password, you’re in for a world of hacking.

You get it.

LastPass asserts that 59% of people know how important a good password is, 91% of people know reusing passwords is risky, and 75% of people know what a strong password looks like.  So… you get it.  You know passwords are important, and you know what it takes to make your passwords secure.

We get it.

But even despite these rather positive statistics, you aren’t doing what you know to be right.  41% of people choose a password because it’s easy to remember, 61% of people reuse passwords, and the majority of people use personal information to create passwords.

But, still… we get it.

You have a million and one accounts… each with a desperate need for a new password.  If you create a new password for each account, you’ll have a million and one passwords floating around your head.  And even if all these passwords you create are “easy to remember,” they’ll still be difficult to recall just due to the sheer number of how many logins you’re required to remember.

Everyone can get it.

But at the end of the day, things really don’t have to be so difficult and all over the place.  You just have to be smart about things.

If you aren’t comfortable with a password manager (a solution that will remember all your passwords for you, like LastPass), then you need to find a simple way to create secure passwords.  This can be anything really, and if your strategy is reliable enough, you can streamline it across all your accounts.

For example, you can use the name of the website, a standard phrase, and a uniform string of numbers and characters. Here’s what that could potentially look like:

Netflix: PizzaisgreatNetflix930!

Hulu: PizzaisgreatHulu930!

Facebook: PizzaisgreatFacebook930!

Amazon: PizzaisgreatAmazon930!

This strategic password is easy to remember and would be incredibly difficult to crack.  It can work for each account you have, and it has everything a password needs to be secure and hard-to-crack.

Another option you have is to use Two-Factor Authentication.  Most major sites offer 2FA, and it provides an extra layer of security for your accounts.  Since 2FA usually requires a user to verify another source (through avenues such as text messaging or emailing), hacking an account with 2FA would be pretty difficult.  It would involve a skilled a hacker and a lot of time.

 

Whatever it is you decide to do, make sure you’re smart about it.  Don’t fall back on simple, insecure passwords just because you feel you’re not worthy of being hacked or because you think you can prevent a hack before it gets to you.  Keep your passwords strong, unique, and strategic.

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