What you risk when you use the same password for multiple accounts


  • TECH
  • Saturday, 21 Apr 2018

Using the same password for all of your online accounts is almost an invitation to hackers. It's particularly risky if the password for your main email account is also used for online shopping or internet banking. — dpa

Most of us know that we should use a different password for every online account. And yet despite the obvious risks, six out of ten of us will use the same password for multiple online accounts.

What's more, 6% of people will even use the same password for every single one of their services, according to a recent poll of 1,000 adults in Germany. Similar results were found in Britain in a 2013 poll by communications watchdog Ofcom.

Using the same password for all of your online accounts is almost an invitation to hackers. It's particularly risky if the password for your main email account is also used for online shopping or Internet banking.

In that case if one of the accounts is compromised, they're all in danger. This in turn puts you at risk of identity theft.

Even if you're not worried that your account may have been hacked or your data shared online, you may consider checking if your email address or password has been shared online using a hack checker such as haveibeenpwned.com.

It may surprise many users to see their unencrypted passwords are being traded online as plain text, following data breaches from major websites like, Dropbox, Adobe and LinkedIn.

Germany's Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) advises that in addition to using a unique password for every online service, people should use two-factor authentication (2FA).

That involves logging in with a password and a one-time code, generally sent via an app or text message. Many services such as social media sites and banks offer 2FA.

Google also offers users the option to confirm a login with a simple tap on their smartphone whenever they sign in on a new computer.

For anyone who can't face memorising countless different passwords, the best solution might be a passport manager. These are programs for storing and managing all your passwords.

Many can also help you create secure passwords. All you'll need to remember then is one master password to gain access to all your online account passwords. — dpa

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