October 27, 2022
Make Strong Passwords
In past articles, I have discussed the importance of creating a strong password, not reusing passwords, and even touched on the utility of password managers. A strong password that is unique for every website is essential to Internet security. The number of high-profile security breaches in 2021 set a record, and there is no reason to think that the problem will decline soon. Although you might be unable to stop your information from getting out, you can find out what information has been taken.
Check For Breaches
The Firefox Monitor is located at https://monitor.firefox.com and has information on public data breaches as far back as 2007. To use the tool, enter your email address into the box and click the “Check for Breaches” button. After clicking the button, you are taken to a page that displays the breaches in which your email address has been involved. For example, I learned that I was involved in 13 known data breaches using my email address. Examples of leaked information include phone numbers, email addresses, passwords, IP addresses, and even partial credit card data.
Another good tool is Google Password Manager. It is located at https://passwords.google.com/intro and allows you to check the strength and security of passwords saved to your Google account. This will require you to sign in using your Google credentials for Gmail, YouTube, or another Google-owned service. Once logged in, click the “Go To Password Checkup” button to see which of your passwords may be compromised. The results will show you where you have reused passwords, are using weak passwords, and most importantly, where you have compromised passwords.
Another interesting tool is located at https://haveibeenpwned.com/Passwords that will allow you to check a password you are considering using to see if the password has ever been involved in a data breach. This database contains a list of around 600 million passwords that have been stolen and made publicly available. Type the password you’re considering and click the “pwned” button. Criminals use password lists like this when trying to guess passwords, so using these passwords isn’t a good idea.
If you are wondering what passwords are good, there are a few tools to help you create strong passwords, such as https://randompasswordgen.com/, which can create a completely random password locally on your computer. You can even have your browser suggest a strong password. The problem is that passwords can be challenging to remember, which leads to reusing them in the first place. There are a variety of password managers that can help with this issue, including those built into your web browser.
If you use the tools and find that your information has been exposed, the best action you can take is to change your passwords, fix your weak passwords, and don’t reuse them anywhere.