As an author and online writer, I have multiple software packages on my computer and all are essential to how I earn my living. At last count, I had three word processors, (Scrivener, Pages, Textedit) one cloud based memory system that works on all my devices (Evernote) Two video editing packages (iMovie and FinalCutPro). Two html editors and too many other specialized bits to count. There is one however that is essential to everything I do online and one I couldn’t do without.
I’m talking about my password manager. Oh yeah, the little bit of software that remembers all those funky passwords for me because, frankly, there’s not a chance in snowball heaven that I’m going to remember them myself. And here’s why.
1) As hackers get more accomplished, passwords match them to get more complex. It’s a never-ending race to the bottom.
2) As passwords get more complex, my ability to remember them all decreases to next to zero.
Let’s Review This Subject
Don’t use the same password on all your sites?
Why? Because if one site is hacked, the first thing the hackers are going to do is enter your data into robots and tell them to hit every site to see if they’ll open. If you use the same password on Paypal as you do on some hacked site, your Paypal account is now an open book and I can guarantee you that you’ll have money withdrawn from your account (and your credit card or bank account if you’ve tied them together as most of us have)
Remember this. If you’re using the same password on more than one site, you’re asking for more than your share of trouble. It’s not a question of “if it will happen” – it’s a question of “when it will happen.”
Don’t Use A Simple Password
There are lists put out regularly with the most common passwords still in use today. Things like 123456789 are still extremely common. How about your home wifi system or your shiny new wifi house thermostat? Did you change the password on those? No? Then a hacker can access the central system, blow right into your house and adjust anything they want.
Or worse, once they’re on your wifi system, they can access your computer if it’s turned on. The only thing stopping them now is a secure password manager. So yes, that simple house thermostat with it unchanged system password is now an entry point to your bank account if you don’t secure your passwords.
Simple passwords that are easily guessed should be a thing of the past.
Change Your Passwords Regularly
Yeah, I know this is something we all hear and never do. My password manager notifies me when a password may have been corrupted and/or needs changing. Big red note appears across the top of the screen.
It’s Not You, It’s Me
Yeah, and we’ve heard that before but in this case it’s true. If my password is weak and hackers gain access to my account, I’m the loser.
But, and this is critical, if my password is weak and the hackers gain access to my account and then through to the main system (once inside they may find other avenues to penetrate into the more secure servers) then they gain access to your account as well.
So my weak password is your weak password.
Why Am I Writing About This Now
I have a gardening membership site that runs on WordPress (a blogging software platform for those who don’t follow such things). It has a password management system that’s baked into it and it’s getting more and more secure. I note that approximately 25% of all websites run on WordPress
If you’re using the same password for all your sites you really don’t want a blogging platform or membership site to be the entry point to your bank account.
I note this now because there are a few members who have quit my membership site because they can’t handle the password system. They believe the system is making the mistake in their password. They’re right and the software is wrong. (For the record, it’s never made an error with my password software manager and neither has any other system if I use the software.)
Some folks refuse to accept the fact the Net has changed and stricter and stricter systems are coming into more and more sites.
Why Do I Insist On Using This Strict System?
I have now had three sites hacked. One just recently. This has cost me significant amounts of money and more than a few sleepless nights. And I don’t want to go to number four. I’d be more emphatic but I’m sure you understand how I feel about this. I no longer want to trust my life to simple passwords.
The Solution Is Simple
Get a secure password manager.
Yes, it’s that simple. There are several good ones on the market. I happen to use 1Password because it works on all my machines and shares a common database (works on both Mac and Windows systems).
I only have to remember one password – the one to open 1Password. It remembers everything else for me.
Let me end this post by asking some simple questions
Why would you insist on using simple passwords when you know it’s going to open up your life to hackers. And equally importantly, it’s going to open up the lives of all the people and websites you deal with?
Do you want to save the money it costs to buy a password manager? Is that cost worth more than what it’s going to cost when a hacker gets your identify or bank account?