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Knowing The Risk, Why Do You Continue To Reuse Your Password?

A recent survey conducted by Creditcards.com found that 92 percent of Americans "have taken at least one big data security risk in the past year."

Eighty-two percent of respondents said they use the same password for more than one online account. This practice can lead to identity theft and is the most common cybersecurity risk taken, according to the survey. In addition, almost half of respondents said that they save their passwords on their computers or phones.

At the same time, among survey respondents, 46 percent said that having their identity stolen would be worse than having burglars break into their home. "Survey: Most Americans take big data security risks" ktiv.com (Feb. 08, 2019).


Commentary

Many surveys on password use point out that users seem to understand how devastating a breach can be; yet, many users admit to dangerous password practices.

Reusing passwords is a substantial risk to your personal and your proprietary work information. Because data breaches occur all the time, odds are at least that a password has made it to the Dark Web. From there, identity thieves can purchase your password - compromising it forever.

If you use a compromised password for other accounts, you are giving identity thieves access to any information that you have stored. If you reuse passwords for financial accounts, identity thieves can steal your card number and make charges in your name. 

Cybersecurity experts have found that a barrier to creating unique passwords for most people is difficulty remembering so many passwords. Although your passwords must not contain words or other easy-to-guess letter or number combinations, there are ways to create easy-to-remember strong passwords. Putting a bit of effort into creating passwords is better than trying to recover from identity theft because you reused the same one or two passwords over and over again.

One way to create strong passwords that are still easy to remember is to choose a phrase, saying, or song title and turn it into a passphrase. Do so by converting the words into numbers, letters, and symbols. For example, “This May Be One Way To Remember” could become “TmB1w2R!” or “Tmb1W>r~.” Make your passwords long and strong, using a combination of lower and upper case letters, numbers, and special characters.

If you know that you cannot remember all of your unique passwords and need to keep track of them, use a reputable password manager. Avoid writing passwords down on paper or in a document on your computer or device that could be accessed by hackers. If you must write down your passwords, do so on a paper that you store in a locked safe or filing cabinet that only you have access to.

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