Why You Must Use Different Passwords
By Leo Notenboom
Using a single password for all of your online accounts is leaving you vulnerable to hacking.–PC Pitstop
The Question: I keep hearing that I’m supposed to use a different password on every internet site where I have an account. What a pain! I can’t remember all of those passwords. Yeah, I know. You want me to use a password manager thing, but that seems like putting a bunch of really important things into a single basket. What if that basket gets hacked? I use a strong password, why isn’t that enough?
The hacks of several online services have brought this issue to light once again.
I’m sorry, but a single strong password just isn’t enough anymore. You must use different strong passwords on every site where you have an account – at least, every important site.
And yes, then you must devise a way to manage them all.
Let me run down an example scenario that’s causing all of this emphasis on multiple different passwords.
The all-too-common scenario
The scenario that I’m about to describe is very common. While the specifics won’t apply exactly, it’s the concept of what could happen when you have things set up in ways that are similar to what I describe.
Let’s say you have an account at some online service that I’ll call service A. In addition, you have a Yahoo! account because you use Flickr, a Google account because you use Gmail and a number of other Google services, a Microsoft account because you have Windows, and we’ll throw in a Dropbox account because you’ve been listening to me recommend its use. You probably have other accounts that I haven’t listed here, but you get the idea. You have lots of accounts to a number of online services.
In most cases, you login with an email address and a password. Even in cases where you login with a user name, you’ll also have to set up a recovery email address that is stored or associated with the account.
You have a wonderfully strong password: 14 completely random characters that you’ve memorized.
And you use that same wonderfully strong password everywhere.
Here’s how it can go horribly, horribly wrong.
This excerpt appears with permission from Leo Notenboom.