Why You Should Use Unique Passwords for Your Online Accounts

Just as you would install a different lock on different doors in your house, you also should use a unique password per online account. Sadly, this crucial security advice is one of many that users just ignore. If you’re like them, you’re risking your digital life.

The point of having a password is to prevent any unauthorized access to your online accounts. With passwords that are each unique to each account, you’re even safer. Case in point: a hacker gaining access to one account won’t necessarily lead to your other accounts getting compromised.

If you’re wondering just how bad it is to get hacked, there’s arguably no better story than Mat Honan’s, a writer for Wired.com. Although the hack is largely attributed to flaws in Apple’s and Amazon’s security policy, using the same password for several accounts may also lead you to suffer the same fate as Honan: all data in his iDevices have been wiped out and his eight years of Gmail messages have been deleted.

The damage could have been worse, but fortunately the hackers mainly did it just for fun and to publicize security exploits. Nevertheless, imagine unscrupulous folks gaining access to your accounts, deleting all your precious photos/videos (or even finding scandalous ones and spreading it all over the Internet), and impersonating you to fool your friends and family into falling into more scams.

The lesson here is to protect your digital life. If you can’t memorize multiple passwords, better use a password manager. Not all your accounts must use different passwords, though—only the important ones such as email, Facebook, and bank accounts.

However, a unique password for each account won’t be enough. You also need to make sure that each password is long and hard to guess by adding numbers, special characters, and uppercase letters. Regularly changing your password is also a huge plus to bolstering your defenses against cybercriminals.

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