123456. AAAAAA. PASSWORD. If I just guessed one of your passwords, you should seriously consider changing it. It may seem more convenient to have an easy to remember, easy to type password. However, you are leaving yourself extremely vulnerable to being hacked.

Hacking Misconceptions

When we see hacking on TV it’s usually a government agency, or a bank, or a high-level executive. The truth is that regular people get hacked every day. In fact, hacking is particularly devastating to normal people because it is often so difficult to undo the damage. Everyone can be hacked. If you’re connected to a network, there’s nothing you can do to protect yourself completely. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try though. Another misconception about hacking is that it’s all coding and secret programs. In fact, a lot of it comes from basic psychology.

How It Works

By now, most people know that their password should be secure for things like online banking, social security profiles, and anything else having to do with money. The problem is that people are laxer when it comes to email and social media profiles. Moreover, people usually use the same password across multiple platforms. That means if a hacker gets into one thing, they get into a bunch of others. It may not seem like a big deal for someone to hack your Facebook, but if you use personal information to come up with your passwords, they have that much more information on about you. That is one of the ways hackers work. They build a profile around a person and cross-reference it with common online habits. They don’t start at your bank account; they start at your Facebook. Once they get into your Facebook, it’s easier to get into your email. Once they get into your email, they can use the “I Forgot My Password” feature on pretty much any site, get the email to set up a new password, and now they’re in your bank account. You may be thinking, “What about security questions?” Well, they still have access to your Facebook and probably your Twitter and Instagram. With all the information we’ve been sharing about ourselves over the past 10 years, strangers know more about you than you may like to think.

Make Stronger Passwords

Honestly, your password should have nothing to do with you. Making it actual words at all ups your risk. It should be a random jumble of capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Granted, those are hard to remember. The harder it is to remember, the harder it is to guess. Be careful writing them down, too. A high percentage of identity theft is carried out by someone the victim knows. Don’t use the same password for multiple things. If someone is going to try to hack you, make them work for it. That’s going to be a lot of passwords to keep track of, but the extra level of security is worth it.

Face and Touch ID

Alternate credentials are growing in popularity, with fingerprint and face scanners being incorporated into many new devices. Unless you have an identical twin or James Bond is trying to hack you, you should be fairly safe with both of these protections. Again though, almost nothing is absolute.