September 16, 2022
We no longer choose whether we want to engage in the digital world or not. Today, practically everyone has an email address, which means practically everyone has at least one password.
But the odds are, if you have a debit card, a streaming account (or three), an online shopping account, or have investments at any of the world’s biggest custodians, you have many accounts, and likely more than one password.
This week’s MoneyDo: Create separate passwords for each of your accounts, and find a secure way to store and maintain them.
If you’re wondering how most people manage multiple passwords across many different apps and websites, the answer is: most don’t. A recent survey indicated that the most widely used password in breached accounts was 123456[i], which appeared in more than 23 million passwords.
Second to 123456 – the equally obvious 123456789. Also in the top five: “qwerty”; “password,” and 1111111.
Before you pass password aspersions, remember that practically every security expert recommends you have a separate password for each account. The reasoning is simple: hackers know how lazy we are with our passwords. If a dedicated hacker breaks into one of your accounts, and all your accounts have the same password, he or she may then have learned the key to all of them.
Suddenly, your checking account information, your social security number, your investment account information, and even your medical data could all be available for nefarious purposes, from creating a new identity to siphoning money into a separate account.
Tracking which password belongs to which account can be challenging. Some take to writing their passwords on a special notebook or file card kept in a super-secret place. It’s a practice prone to familiar problems: if someone you don’t trust happens across this trove of passwords, you’re extremely vulnerable to foul play.
Most security experts suggest you use an online or mobile app. Many users find the apps helpful because they’ll store all pertinent details regarding the account, and help generate new passwords, when necessary. Websites and apps like Last Pass, 1Password, and Bitwarden are all available at varying costs, from free to a nominal annual fee.
Remember, whatever system you use to maintain and secure your passwords, make sure the individual executing your estate knows how to access them, in the event of your passing.
It seems technology adds layers of complexity as it adds increased access and simplicity. Make use of both as you seek to keep your digital presence secure.