How Reckless Password Use Leads to Identity Theft
'I won't take the necessary steps to protect all my accounts because I've got nothing to hide.' Every person that has worked in the information security industry for long enough has heard this excuse at least once. Some hear it on a daily basis.
Often, it can be roughly translated into "I won't take the necessary steps to protect all my accounts because I can't be bothered to stop and think for a moment what could happen if hackers get their hands on my data." In other cases, however, people genuinely believe that they can't be harmed if the bad guys compromise their accounts. We've got some news for the people who use this excuse and stand by it.
Your data costs money, and hackers want to make a lot of money
In this day and age, you can't use a large portion of the online services without providing at least some personal information. Crooks want to get their hands on this information because they can monetize on it.
They can sell it on an underground marketplace, but they can also steal your identity and impersonate you. Identity theft is a lucrative crime these days. The ubiquity of the Internet means that if crooks have enough of your personal details, they can do anything from spreading misleading information about you to issuing credit cards in your name.
How are passwords and identity theft connected?
For the last few decades, the authentication system that relies on a username and a password has established itself as the standard when it comes to online services. In many cases, your username is your email address which can be easily obtained. This means that usually, your password is the only thing keeping the bad guys out.
Despite this, people seemingly fail to understand that passwords must be treated with respect. Research reports and surveys come out regularly, and they all point out to one and the same thing – "123456" and "password" are among the most frequently used passwords.
Password reuse is also rampant, and once again, people don't seem to comprehend the ramifications of what has to be one of the worst, yet most common practices. Having your online forum profile hacked might not seem like such a big deal, but when the password that opens it also unlocks your online banking account, the results could be devastating.
Blaming all this on the users is the easiest thing in the world, but we shouldn't be too harsh on them. There is one universal truth that we mustn't forget.
People and complex passwords don't get along
While some people live with the misconception that falling victim to a hacking attack is no big deal, most users, especially the ones that have already gone through the experience, know that it's something you want to avoid. Why, then, do they still continue to use weak passwords?
Because they can't create and memorize truly strong and unique ones. The human brain simply isn't capable of reliably storing all these random strings of letters and numbers. The good news is, there are now tools that can take care of this.
Cyclonis Password Manager comes with a built-in password generator that lets you create random, strong passwords for all your accounts. It then stores and encrypts them, and you can access them with your master password. With the cloud storage option, you can even synchronize your sensitive information across multiple devices. Best of all, it's completely free to use, and setting it up is easy, even for the people who have no experience with applications of this sort. To learn more about Cyclonis Password Manager, click here.