Why Are Passwords Important and What to Do About Them

5 min read by Bogdi

published un an în urmă, updated un an în urmă

Passwords are annoying. You know it, I know it, we all know it. Almost every website will ask you for an account these days. If you're like me, you probably have more than 100 accounts already. And the number keeps growing.

Having to remember all these passwords is a nightmare. It's terribly complicated to keep them in your head, so you probably use a notebook, a file, or even a password manager to remember them all.

Nobody has time to deal with all this nonsense. And frankly, the websites don't explain why you need a password and the school barely started teaching the importance of good password hygiene.

What is a secure password? Why do you need so many? And, most importantly, why does it matter?

The hacker point of view

Let's take a look at the password issue from a hacker's point of view. For you the passwords is the annoying thing you have to remember and changer regularly. For a hacker it's the annoying 10 letters that keeps them away from your money.

If you would not use a password, everybody could use your Facebook, email or bank accounts. This is certainly not something we want.

How hackers go about hacking you

In movies, hackers are some gods of computers that bash the keyboard and yell "I'm in!". This is certainly not the case.

One of the simplest way a hacker can get access to you accounts is this:

  1. Buy a set of leaked passwords. This is very illegal, but readily available on the dark web. I'll explain later how these leaked passwords came to be.
  2. Pick a pair of email + password (these are real credentials people use) and try to use it on ALL websites they could think of. This could be social media accounts (Facebook, Insta, TikTok, ...), email accounts, bank accounts, Amazon accounts, and so on. Basically any website that uses an email and password.
  3. Profit. If one of those passwords fit, they just managed to hack your account and can, basically, do anything you are able to do.

Why do these sets of email and passwords exist in the first place?

There are a lot of websites on the internet. You could imagine that quite a few of them are, how should I say this, trash. The creators of those websites spent almost no time on security and stealing the emails and passwords of the users is an easy job for an advanced hacker. It's like taking candy from a baby.

They then make a lot of money by selling all these emails and passwords on the dark web. This is very illegal, but it happens.

What can happen when an account is hacked?

I'm not gonna lie, this is scary. When someone manages to access your account, they can do everything they like. Here are a few examples:

  1. They can find sensitive information like private images and messages to blackmail you.
  2. If it's an account with a linked credit card, they can buy stuff with your money.
  3. With social media accounts (Facebook, Insta, ...) they use it to send fake offers to your friends. Like the fake Ray Ban sunglasses, mature content, fake pills, money and luck 'charms', and so on.
  4. And the scariest of them all, they can use your email to hack your friends by sending them links with viruses and phishing websites.

If this happens, you'll have to block your credit cards, reset all your passwords, explain your friends why you sent them all those weird links, and warn them to not click or download anything.

How can you stop this?

Since we cannot stop hackers from selling and buying passwords, the only real way to deal with this is to secure our accounts.

First, you should not use simple passwords like 'password123', your name, your kid's birthday, and so on. These are easily guessed.

Secondly, you should enable 2 factor authentication on your accounts. This is usually annoying since you will have to enter a code you receive on SMS or email every time you login.

Thirdly, and the most important one, use different passwords for all your accounts. This is the only real way to make sure that a passwords leak (explained above) will not affect you.

These is a problem, however, since using different passwords for every account is quite the hassle, and you probably don't have time for this. No worries, I'll explain below what you can do.

Myths about passwords

Myth: storing you passwords in a document online or on your computer is good enough. This is certainly false! If you're not a security expert, your computer or phone is not secure at. In most cases, hackers can easily steal data from it. Storing your passwords in a file is like keeping all your money in your car. It takes one crow bar to steal everything.

Myth: using a free password manager is good enough. Again, this is not true. While there could be good free password managers out there, the risk is not worth it. There were a lot of news of free password mangers getting hacked. You don't have to take my word on it, just google "was X password manager hacked?".

The best solution to this madness is a real password manager

By 'real' I mean an app specifically designed for this. One that you pay for (you always want to be paying for important stuff), and one that has a good reputation.

With this, you will be able to safely keep all your passwords. You won't have to remember them, you won't have to invent them, and you won't even need to type them on websites.

When you create an account or change a password, the manager will show you a button to generate a new and secure password, and, obviously, remember it for you.

When you try to login on a website, the manager will tell you all the accounts you saved for that website and you just click the one you want to use.

You can even import all your passwords if you have them saved somewhere.

Another great benefit is that they have good customer service (for paid apps, of course). You can contact them if something is wrong and they can even help you get emergency access to your account if you happen to lock yourself out.

When using a password manager, you will only have to remember ONE password (the password for the password manager 😅). On phones, you can even use your fingerprint or Face ID to unlock it.

My recommendation for you

As a thank you for reading this far (I know it's not a sexy topic), I will tell you what I recommend to my friends and family.

It's NordPass. If the name sounds familiar it's because it's made by the same people that created the very popular NordVPN.

I like it because it's very easy to use. Everything is clear and intuitive, the price is great and it stores my credit card and addresses as well. With just a click it auto fills the credit card and address fields when I shop online.

I put a affiliate link bellow if you want to check it out. Also, you should be receiving a discount after you click it 😉.

If you found this helpful, please share it with a friend. This way, they will also stay safe online and might even thank you for it.

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