As embarrassing as it must have been, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s Pinterest and Twitter accounts were hacked over this weekend. A hacker group called the OurMine Team claimed responsibility for the hack and revealed Zuckerberg had set a weak password, ‘Dadada’, for both accounts. The group also claims to have accessed Zuckerberg’s credentials from the leaks in the recent LinkedIn data breach. Most probably, Zuckerberg had been careless about it and used the same or similar passwords for different accounts.
Incidents of personal accounts of celebrities and official accounts of companies keep happening regularly. It’s ironic that Zuckerberg, who runs the world’s largest social networking website with over 1 billion users worldwide, could not save himself from hacking. This case comes with an important lesson we must all learn — create strong and secure passwords. Here are some ways you can ensure your online accounts never get hacked.
Firstly, using a combination of uppercase, lowercase letters, symbols and numbers in passwords really strengthens your credentials and makes it difficult to be cracked. Fingerprints, voiceprints, or face recognition, wherever possibly should be used over regular pin codes. For accounts you must use passwords for, ensure that they are at least eight characters long and are not a commonly used phrase. The longer the password the tougher it is to crack the combination.
Another way to create a strong password, which is generally difficult to hack, is to abbreviate sentences. For example, rimbp – rohan is my best pal. Now these five alphabets together would make no sense to a hacker and it would make it that much difficult to assemble for them. Using a password manager is another good option. The reason why many users keep similar/same passwords for most of their accounts is because they fear forgetting them. This is where password managing apps come into play. Apps like Keeper, LastPass, Dashlane help you save all your passwords in one place, which are further protected by a password. However, a user must ensure to remember the password to the app, else they could end up losing all the info and credentials.
Create multiple layers of security. Most apps and services these days offer two-factor authentication, which have proved to be one of the most secure methods for password safety. The two-factor authentication basically works by making two layers of password to any account, one layer being your password, and the other being your phone. This means, when you set up apps with two-factor authentication, you are asked to register your mobile number. Consequently, whenever you login from a new device or location, you are prompted on your phone with a one-time password, without which no one can access your account.
Now, while it is important to use a strong password, it is also necessary to take some precautions. According to a survey done by Symantec, 31 percent of the millennials admit to sharing passwords and other risky online behavior.
Always ensure you do not save password on a computer that is not yours. Once a hacker gets access in any one account, it is easier to break into others, specially when your passwords for different accounts are similar or the same. Which also means, you must not have similar or the same password for different email accounts or social networking websites. Most importantly, don’t use words and number that are a common knowledge about you, for example name of your pet/family, or your phone number, or birthday.
It hasn’t been stressed enough that secure passwords are vital and little carelessness can lead to big mishaps. Give importance to password security and lead a happy digital life!