Criminals use stolen passwords to access multiple accounts

Your digital identity could be at risk

The number of successful cyber attacks against major companies continues to grow each year. As nefarious individuals steal more consumer data for illegal purposes, the chances of these victims becoming victims of additional cybercrimes increases, and it could be the victim’s fault.

If a person has at least one digital account, chances are, they have others as well. Banking, shopping, community, and social media sites each require login credentials to access various types of material. Remembering all of these passwords could get cumbersome, especially if they’re lengthy and include all of the numbers, symbols, and capitalization variances they should. Some password users have reduced the burden of remembering multiple passwords by using the same password for multiple accounts. This is an extremely flawed strategy.

When a hacker penetrates the digital defenses of a business server and steals user access information, the business might act fast enough to invalidate that information before a hacker can use it to cause harm in that system. The business, however, can’t prevent a hacker from using the stolen information to access accounts at other businesses. The successful hacker could attempt to use the access information for that very purpose, but he or she is more likely to sell the information on the darknet. When the information becomes available for sale at a criminal’s mega-warehouse of illegal goods on the darknet, there’s a high probability a criminal will use it for some purpose at some point in the future.

If you discover that a hacker has committed a cyber attack at a company you do business with, that “news” could be ancient history to the criminal who perpetrated the attack. A company might not discover the attack for months, or even years after it occurs. Even when a firm discovers the breach, it may not release that information publically for a considerable period as it reacts to the attack. By the time you find out about it, your information could already have been sold many times on the darknet.

What should you do to limit the damage a criminal can cause with your login information? Use unique passwords for each and every digital account you have. If you have difficulty remembering the login information for so many accounts, use password manager software that will store and encrypt your passwords. The only password you’ll need to remember is the one for the encryption software.

To find the password manager software that’s right for you, type “password manager” into your favorite Internet search engine and review your options. Some managers automatically insert your login credentials into the websites you access, others don’t. Some managers can be used across multiple devices and offer fingerprint or facial recognition for account access, others may not. Some managers are offered for free, others can cost up to $40 or more. Pick the right combination of features you need at a price point that fits your budget.

However you manage your passwords, make sure they’re strong, unique, and accessible to you when you need them. Get it done today and it will become a criminal’s dismay.