What are the risks of having weak bank passwords? Obviously, we’re looking at the hacker community here; white hat hackers warn that complex passwords are a more effective barrier to black hat hackers than you might think, but people who don’t understand the methodology of hacking might not understand why a complex password is better and may be led astray by bad information or fake news about hackers, malware, and virus issues.
The dangers are VERY real–there is no fake news when it comes to the need for stronger password security unless the news you’re getting says in so many words that it’s not needed. It DEFINITELY is necessary to have robust and frequently changing passwords for your online bank accounts.
Weak Bank Passwords Risks
A weak password is one that can be easily compromised. Most people think that some form of electronic assistance might be needed to crack your bank passwords, but there are people in your everyday life who cannot be trusted any more than an anonymous, faceless hacking attempt.
These people present an elevated risk for anyone using whole words, pet names, nicknames, or other personal information as part of their password.
Yes, the very definition of a weak password usually involves one or more features that make the password easy to remember. The harder your password is to remember and the less it looks like an actual word you can find in the dictionary or a name you can give to your dog, the more vulnerable you are. Why?
People You Know Can Hack You, Too
“I know I will NEVER break up with Sally/Jim and so I don’t have to worry about how strong my password is around them.” That statement is true only as long as it can be. But if your relationship with Sally or Jim begins to get rocky, you may live to regret having an easy-to-remember or easy-to-guess password, especially if it incorporates aspects of your own name, your significant other, or your pets.
You may have a friend who is no longer so because of some bad behavior they were responsible for, or maybe a simple misunderstanding makes an adversary out of someone you thought would be an ally. No matter what the circumstances, weak passwords expose you in ways you won’t even think about until your accounts have been compromised.
The best passwords are ones that are randomly generated, that do not have dictionary words, and contain numerous special characters. Weak passwords may suffice for a time, but the protection they offer is temporary and tenuous at best. The best passwords don’t allow for any hacker to guess or crack your codes because they know you and your preferences.
Joe Wallace specializes in personal finance, military affairs, and consumer protection topics. Since 1995, his work has appeared on Air Force Television News, The Pentagon Channel, ABC and a variety of print and online publications. He is a 13-year Air Force veteran and collects unusual vinyl records, which gives him an excuse to write the vinyl blog Turntabling.net.