If you’re reading this blog, the chances are you’re aware that passwords are often the key to our most confidential information. With so much of our lives played out online, it’s so important to stay on top of your password health. However, many of us put our passwords on the back burner until it’s too late.

Valentine’s Day is here, and what better time to show your passwords a little love? If any of the following five common security gaps apply to you or your passwords, we’ll tell you how to make it right with a little TLC.

1. Your passwords are really easy to hack

Did you know that it takes a computer less than a second to hack a password based on real words or phrases, including variations with different cases and numbers? Last year, a truly shocking number of widely-used companies experienced data breaches leaving billions impacted. Billions. Let that sink in.

This is exactly why the ideal passwords should be long, alphanumeric, and entirely random.

Takeaway: Think outside the box when creating passwords. If you can easily memorize each and every one, they likely aren’t going to deter hackers. Try Dashlane’s Password Generator here.

2. You frequently reuse the same (or a similar) passwords 

It can be pretty tempting to rush through account creation and use your strong, “old faithful” password or some variation. But using one strong password everywhere isn’t enough. Here’s why:

Think of a password like a physical key. You wouldn’t use the same key for your house, car, and safe, because if someone has that one key, they have access to everything. So, why use the same password for your bank, social media, and credit card logins? Hackers rely heavily on this password laziness to get access to your accounts. It’s not fun to have even one account compromised, let alone several.

Takeaway: Switch it up by using secure (see #1) and unique passwords for each of your accounts. You can try using Password Pnemonics if you’re struggling, or just let Dashlane generate and store your unique passwords.

3. You save passwords to your default browser

“Do you want Firefox to remember this password next time?” Sure. Why not, right? Wrong. Unless you’re okay with trading a momentary convenience for your data security, just say no. Anyone with access to your device or browsing sessions can potentially log in to your saved accounts without much hassle.

Takeaway: Only save passwords in a place that others can’t access. Here’s a hint—it’s not your browser. (It’s not a PostIt note, either. Read on for the answer.)

4. You aren’t keeping up with your passwords

The average person has around 120 accounts. That’s 120 passwords to remember. On top of that, you already know each one should be complex, unique, and long. Sounds impossible, right? Not when you have a password manager.

Password managers like Dashlane take the legwork out of remembering passwords. For example, Dashlane can auto-save your passwords as you log in and gives you the opportunity to generate complex passwords for any new accounts and replace your old ones.

Takeaway: Download and start using a password manager. Dashlane is a fantastic and secure choice, with or without my bias. You’ll thank me later.

5. You insecurely share work-related passwords

Texting, IM’ing, or emailing a colleague to ask for or provide passwords to a work account is a bad idea—and one of the easiest ways to compromise your company’s security. You don’t want to be that person. (Just ask this guy.) If sharing is a necessity, ensure the system you use allows you to securely manage and share access to team passwords, and if anyone changes a password, the system should also sync that new login information across the whole team and all devices they’re using. A password manager can help you do this easily.

Takeaway: Use a password manager at work to share and update account credentials seamlessly. A business solution, like Dashlane Business, makes doing so really simple and secure.

 

So, go ahead and give your passwords the attention they deserve this Valentine’s Day. In doing so, you’ll be protecting your identity from hackers. That sounds like a much better return on investment than dinner and roses, right?