Cybersecurity

The Password Mistake That Makes You an Easy Target for Hackers

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Most Americans seem to know the basics of creating strong passwords -

Make passwords long. Randomize. Never, ever share passwords with anyone.

However, these same otherwise intelligent individuals often break the cardinal rule of password usage:

Never reuse the same password.

Password reuse makes is easier for hackers to break into accounts. And yet, a whopping 52% of Americans continue to reuse the same passwords across multiple accounts! That means the majority of Americans engage in behavior that makes them vulnerable to hackers.

Yikes!

If you’re wondering, dear reader, why this is such a big deal, let’s walk through a common scenario of what happens when you reuse your password.

The Sad Story of Reuse Ronald

Meet Reuse Ronald.

Like most Americans, Ronald has a habit of reusing the same passwords across multiple accounts. Ronald knows that password reuse isn’t a great idea, but he’s confident that his password is pretty hard to crack.

No big deal, right?

Let’s find out.

Meet Hacker Hannah.

Thanks to a data breach of a popular social media site, Hannah has access to a data dump of secret account information. And, do you know who happens to be on the list?

You guessed it – Reuse Ronald.

Because Reuse Ronald used the same password for his social media account and email, Hannah uses this newly stolen password to log into his email account and search for important accounts.

A-ha! Looks like Ronald has a bank account.

Hannah uses this same email address and password to log into Ronald’s bank account and wire $10,000 to an overseas account.

Sorry, Reuse Ronald – looks like you just got owned.

Don’t Be a Victim – Protect Your Passwords

As fantastical as our Reuse Ronald story sounds, the unfortunate reality is that this scenario is far too common. Credential stuffing – the hacker practice of using stolen passwords to crack into multiple accounts – accounts for 41% of security incidents in the financial sector.

How to Store Passwords the Right Way

We get it. The average person has more accounts than they can handle, and remembering a unique password for each one is nearly impossible.

That’s where password managers come in.

With a password manager, you don’t have to remember each password on your own. Instead, the manager stores your passwords securely, and auto-fills your account information when needed. Some managers even automatically generate new, hyper-secure passwords for you – saving you the trouble of coming up with one.

If you have Apple or Google products, these companies have their own password managers that you can use. Many widely used web browsers – Firefox and Microsoft Edge, to name a few – come with password managers built in. Otherwise, popular password managers include LastPass, 1Pass, or Dashlane. The choices are endless.

Axos Bank Is Here to Help

For questions on how to protect yourself from hackers and scams, be sure to visit our Security Center for the latest news and advice. Should you have any concerns about the integrity of your Axos account, log in to online banking to reach out to our team directly.

The Password Mistake That Makes You an Easy Target for Hackers

This blog post was published by Axos Editorial Team on March 1, 2021 and last updated on March 1, 2021.

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1 Responses to The Password Mistake That Makes You an Easy Target for Hackers

  • ggtest
    June 24, 2021

    Great article!


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