September 10

Passwords; There is a better way


Security breaches happen so often they don’t make the news like they used to.  Last year we discussed the Equifax data breach that exposed the personal information of over 147 million people.  This year we’ve had breaches at Twitter, Marriott, MGM and Zoom to just name a few. 

To see if your information has ever been exposed, type your email address associated with your passwords at the website:  Have I been pwned?  If not already, it’s more than likely that at some point your login information will be exposed as one of the sites you frequent eventually gets breached.  The following is a series of tips, articles and videos to help you address this growing concern.

What can you do about this? 

Security experts will tell you that you should:

  • avoid predictable password formulas like: 123456 or password or password1. 
  • See here for the top 500 worst passwords.
  • Use a unique password for each site.
  • If you use the same password across sites, then a breach on one site exposes all sites
  • Use truly random passwords
  • If you use variations on the same password, then again a breach on one site allows a hacker to build a program to quickly figure out your other passwords

How can you manage this?

We all have password fatigue and trying to manage all of this ourselves is unrealistic.  Utilizing a password manager can help address these issues and alert you as to when one of your frequented sites has been compromised allowing you to go in and change your password. 

A password manager can securely store all of your passwords and help you to create random and effective passwords.  See here for a good explanation: 

According to a recent CNET article comparing password managers – they rank LastPass as being the best free app and 1Password as the best paid app.  I’ve been using 1Password for the past year and would highly recommend them.  See here for a good ad and overview.

And if you have any questions or would like to discuss this further, please call us at 941-745-2201 - I’m no expert, but I’ll be happy to help and provide any guidance that I can.

Related tools & resources:

Wirecutter (New York Times) on why you need a password manager. In other words, don’t just take my word for it!

What is Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)? - when available, you should enable 2FA to add another layer of security to your accounts.


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About the author

Gardner is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER and principal of Sherrill Wealth Management in Bradenton, Florida. He has spent 20+ years in the wealth management field helping families negotiate the various obstacles and opportunities that retirement provides them.
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