Here’s why you should stop memorizing your passwords

The average person has 27 unique web logins. To create an account on a site, you have to
register with a username and password. And most people pick passwords that are easy
to remember. Actually, a lot of us end up using the same
password for all of our websites, which is understandable,
but risky. There are many different ways that hackers
can get your password. They can use programs that try to guess it
by randomly cycling through different combinations, hacking the website itself, or phishing, by sending fake emails that look
like they’re from a website or company, but actually
aren’t. All of this spells bad news for people that
reuse the same password because you’re putting yourself at much higher risk
for hackers being able to get into your emails, your photos, and even your bank info. Last year Yahoo made headlines when it was
the victim of a massive cyber attack, With sensitive information being stolen from
1 billion accounts. So if you had a Yahoo account and you used
that same password for other sites, you were now vulnerable to all those other
accounts being hacked too. Every time there’s a big hack like this,
experts tell us to stop using the same password for every website. In fact, they say we should stop memorizing
our passwords altogether, recommending that we use something called
a password manager instead. I know, I know, it already sounds complicated. But trust me, it’s really not. And it will help make all of your accounts
much more secure. We currently think of passwords as things
that we memorize and store inside our heads. But since we’re really bad at remembering
random things, there’s a limit to how complex your password
can be, and how many different ones you’ll be able
to remember. As a result, most people have really simple
passwords, and many use the same one across all their
logins. This sucks because if a hacker gets access
to your one password, they then have access to all of your different
accounts. And if your password is uncomplicated, it’s
astonishingly easy for hackers to guess it. For instance, if you use a password like,
well, password, which is actually the eighth most commonly
used one, it would take a hacker mere milliseconds to
guess it. But if you use a password manager to generate
a 15-digit series of random upper and lowercase letters
and numbers, that time jumps up to 609 million years. The biggest thing we need to do is stop keeping
our passwords inside our heads. Instead, we need to put them somewhere else
and lock them up, like a virtual safe. This is what the password manager does. It’s basically an app that keeps all of
your passwords secure inside of a safe that only you can unlock. This way you only need to remember one password. And once you unlock the safe you can see all
of your many different passwords in one place. Since it’s an app, you can access your passwords
from any device you’ve installed it on. And since you don’t need to remember all
your passwords anymore, you can make them really long and
complicated. So what happens if your password manager gets
hacked? They would have access to all your individual
passwords then, right? Not necessarily. The password manager encrypts your data, so if a hacker looks inside your safe, all
they’ll see is scrambled passwords. LastPass was hacked in 2015 and users had
to change their master passwords. But the individual passwords inside were safe
because of this encryption. It may seem like it would be annoying to have
to retrieve your password for every single website. But, actually, most password managers have
browser plugins that automatically fill your info in for you. So in many cases, it’s actually easier. And besides, it’s better than the alternative: becoming one of the millions of Americans
that get hacked every year.

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