With so many online accounts being used by everyone, certain regular functions can be easily available by just logging on to the Web. Internet user are permitted to create multiple accounts for online banking, credit card services, loan payments, online shopping, retail websites, email accounts, social networking or a number of other options. Because remembering user names and passwords for all of these accounts can become difficult, many users utilize the same, basic password for every account. This is a big risk to identity theft.
Individuals who make a living hacking into someone’s web based or online account can get access to some very private information. In fact, most of these criminals are experts in online behavior and understand that by getting just one individual login that they may have acquired the key to numerous other online accounts. These criminals know that it’s common practice to use a single user name and password across many sites. They use complex tools and computer algorithms to access a single, less secure web site and then apply that user name and password to more secure sites. An example is that your photo sharing site may not be as secure as your credit card account. But once cyber criminals have the one password, they will apply it to other less secure accounts gaining full access to your personal data. This is why online offenders are always looking to find the most easy to hack accounts. By applying the same credentials to other web sites you visit your identity is at risk.
Another risk comes in the form of phishing scams. Last month, a National Senator fell victim to a phishing scam requesting his account password that claimed affiliation with his Yahoo email provider. His email account was subsequently used to send scam emails to people listed under his contacts. Had his email account used the same password as an online banking account, an anonymous Web based criminal could have stolen the identity of Iowa Senator Bob Dvorsky.
Anyone doing work or surfing online is exposed to a variety of risks on a seemingly regular basis. There are a variety of techniques you can apply to limit your risk and protect yourself online. One of the best ways to do so is by having a unique login for each and every web site that requires registration. This can be a bit of a challenge when first adopting this new methodology but the protection it affords you is worth it. There are a number of ways to track multiple passwords in a safe way and in no time you’ll be much safer when online. Consider using a small notebook to record and document user names and passwords. You can also consider using an excel spreadsheet that is protected by a password. If you visit web sites on a regular basis, you will soon remember even the most complicated log in information.
Another important thing to do is to is to setup secure passwords that are hard to guess. Users have traditionally made their password terms that are easy to recall, such as maiden names, middle names or even the names of a beloved pet. The challenge that exists with this process is that these passwords are relatively simple to guess for cyber criminals.
Here is a popular technique for creating and remembering a complex password. It uses a sentence based approach that requires you to write a ten word sentence. Once you’ve finished your sentence, take the first letter or number of each word to form an acronym. This ten letter acronym can become your password for a variety of sites by changing capitalization. However, this sentence should be relatively easy to remember as it may be used across different sites requiring unique profiles. Consider how you can develop complex passwords that are easy to remember but not common or easy to figure out. You could consider lines from your favorite songs or movies. Use a variety of capital letters to add complexity to your password as well. Remember, the more complex your password appears the more difficult it will be to guess.
Protecting your online identity and security online through unique logins may seem like quite a chore. Consider however the cost in time and money of recovering from something as serious as identity theft. Taking the time to create new habits around profile set up, user names, and passwords is the best way to save yourself time and expense in the long run.