“We recently identified a bug that stored passwords unmasked,” said the Twitter Team in a recent email to over 330 million users. Essentially, if you had a Twitter account, someone could have discovered your password without encryption, black dots or hashtags hiding it. Though they found no evidence that the passwords had been compromised, the social media giant recommended that you change your password immediately.
How many times a month do you get an email or notification to update your password? Sometimes, these are proactive prompts to keep your passwords fresh and new, but as our world becomes more digitized, these are often signs of a data breach.
Please run—don’t walk—to update your passwords.
The Twitter Team also highlighted another common issue when it comes to our relationship with passwords—we often use the same one across multiple devices, accounts, and services. Yes, using the same password for multiple logins makes it easier to remember, but it can put your private data in danger. After a breach, your password will probably be linked to your personal email address or another login credential, making it an easy connection for a hacker to infiltrate other accounts you are using. This is why a unique password goes a long way toward your personal and/or commercial data security.
What can you do?
1) Use a password manager.
There are lots of fantastic and reasonably priced password managers that will help you create and store unique passwords. Get the same manager on all of your devices (browser, phone, tablet, etc) and it will store them in one secure location—ready at the click of a button.
2) Change your password regularly.
When prompted by a service provider to update or change a password, do it immediately. Whether it is routine, a company policy or something serious, there is no reason to leave yourself vulnerable.
3) Follow these password creation rules.
- Store them in a locked, protected or encrypted file. Leaving passwords on a notepad, in your email, on a Word document, or on your desktop is not secure enough.
- Use completely unique passwords for every place you log in. Password, Password1, and Password2 are not unique, and can be exploited by even the average hacker. And if ‘password’ is in your password, please open up your browser and change it right now.
- Pay special attention to banking, credit card, and any systems holding important customer, employee or personal data. When there is potential money involved, hackers will go the extra mile to infiltrate these systems.
Don’t help hackers steal your data—utilize these valuable steps and help protect yourself during the next breach.