Data breaches have become a widespread occurrence in the recenttimes. Financial institutions and other social networking sites havefallen prey where subscribers have found their accounts hacked andpersonal information used for other unauthorized activities. Thesituation is made worse by the fact that the hackers continue to comeup with inventive ways through which they access the personalinformation of individuals despite the security measures that havebeen placed by the individual companies (Mishra & Verma, 2014).Recently, LinkedIn, a popular professional network reported a databreach where five percent of the users are suspected to have fallenvictim of the incident. The increase in cases of data breachesresulting in access to passwords and personal emails of individualsnegates the need to come up with an appropriate way of prohibitingsuch deeds. It is vital to understand the ways through which peoplecan protect their passwords and elaborate the effects of notprotecting them.
Common ways of protecting passwords
The first way to protect the password is to ensure that each websiteused has different passwords. In most instances, people have beenusing the same password for various websites that they aresubscribers. Such an action does expose the individual users tosignificant risks when it comes to hacking. It could be cumbersome touse different passwords, but it helps in reducing the chances of onehaving their account being hacked.
People should develop the habit of changing their passwordsperiodically. For example, they can change the password after atleast three months. The continuous change of the passwords helps makeit difficult for hackers to gain access to the personal accounts.
Further, password protection can be enhanced by a change of how thepasswords are designed. Users can utilize a combination of the lowercase, upper case, symbols and numbers so that it becomes difficultfor hackers to carry out their activity. People have been usingcommon passwords such as numbers only, frequent occurrences or thearrangement of the keywords on the keyboard. Through a combination ofthe symbols used when coming up with a password, it becomes difficultfor hackers to be successful.
Also, to enhance protection for the password used, users could opt toutilize a two-step log-in when they decide to gain access to thewebsite. Upon entering the first password, the users could use thesecond sign in that entails using a code that has been sent to emailor text. Such a measure is helpful as the original user is the onlyperson who receives the code (McCarney et al., 2012). It serves toenhance the level of protection of such individuals’ passwords isenhanced. The second sign in the process could be considered as thesecond password to be used.
What happens when passwords are not protected?
Password protection remains a significant feature that should beregarded with seriousness. Failure not to protect the passwords hasmultiple risks, especially for the users. For example, if one failsto protect the password, they risk their personal accounts beinghacked. If it is social media, for instance, the chances are that thehackers could take the opportunity to post material that may beoffensive to others risking their accounts being blocked regardingthe company policy (Chien, Wu & Yeh, 2013). Secondly, failure todo so risks one’s personal information being accessed byunauthorized people hence the risk of their misuse. Individuals couldsuffer cases of personification resulting on other detrimentalattacks. Such is a reflection of the need to protect the passwords.
Chien, H. Y., Wu, T. C., & Yeh, M. K. (2013). Provably securegateway-oriented password-based authenticated key exchange protocolresistant to password guessing attacks. Journal of InformationScience and Engineering, 29(2), 249-265.
McCarney, D., Barrera, D., Clark, J., Chiasson, S., & vanOorschot, P. C. (2012, December). Tapas: design, implementation, andusability evaluation of a password manager. In Proceedings of the28th Annual Computer Security Applications Conference (pp.89-98). ACM.
Mishra, V., & Verma, N. (2014). Security against PasswordSniffing using Database Triggers. International General ofResearch in Advent Technologies, 2.