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Forgot your Passw*rd? Hackers Will Remind You.

What’s worse than having your website hacked and used as a launchpad for fraudulent emails? Having your business and/or personal information stolen, ransomed or compromised by cybercriminals.

It’s not surprising that such events as mentioned above increase each year. On the rise are the population of professional hackers with no conscience, who would even steal and sell your information for a dollar. Thus, your chances of being a victim are increasing as well.

According to this post by Best VPN, several studies of cybercrime events produced an average percentage that reflects a staggering 1 in 3 chance that you will experience some form of hacking in the next year. And a recent survey by the National Small Business Association showed that 42% of small business owners reported being a victim of cybercrime – and you could be next.

The red flag that stands out among this data points to one of the biggest vulnerabilities allowing hackers access to your critical information – and one you’re probably ignoring. That vulnerability is – YOU!

But  you’re too smart to be hacked, right? You don’t click on unknown links, install software that you’re not familiar with, or yield to phone calls or texts prompting you for account logins or other personal information. Well, bully for you!

Nevertheless, that vulnerability does exist, and it comes down to your passwords. Sure 123456, password, or maybe your favorite team is easy to remember, but is it secure enough to be the gatekeeper for your critical information?

OK, maybe you are using more effective passwords, which is great! However, many people still use terribly weak passwords, and the result is an increased frequency by which data is hacked. According to the latest Verizon Data Breach report, 63% of breaches were caused by stolen or weak passwords.

Thus, if you’re smart enough to avoid providing your passwords willingly (phishing), you ought to be smart enough to use strong, i.e., random passwords.

This is the new reality. In order to protect your most important information, you must be ever-vigilant against hackers, who actually aren’t cool Millennials on a cable TV show.

Although there are hi-tech protocols on the horizon that will eventually replace the password, such as fingerprint scanners and face recognition, these are in their infancy and not even close to worldwide implementation. For now, random passwords are one of the most effective methods of prevention.

Granted, random passwords are difficult, but not impossible to remember. But why go through that? Some options other than memorizing would be to try the old Post-It method (not advised), or using a spreadsheet that you store on a removable flash drive (unless you lose that…).

Probably the best password method out there is password manager software. This type of software is used to store, generate and manage your password list. Some managers can store other types of sensitive information, and can even auto-fill online forms for you. There are many available, therefore you will definitely find one you like.

Whatever method you use to manage your passwords, you will still need to use best practices when working with passwords. These practices are essential to giving you every nuance of protection – never forget that cybercriminals are using every weapon in their dark arsenal to come after you.

It’s true that the odds of having your private information stolen or ransomed are not in your favor, which makes it even more important that you take whatever steps possible to improve those odds. Random passwords are your best bet.