PREDICTION: You won’t change your Wi-Fi password in 2016

Privacy

This is part of a series of posts about what security experts think will happen in 2016.

“During 2016, the average age of Wi-Fi passwords used all over the globe will increase by 366 days,” predicts F-Secure Security Advisor Erka Koivunen.

The importance of having strong, unique passwords is often emphasized by security advisors, but still overlooked by individuals. The most commonly used passwords are still easy to figure out combinations like 12345. Even worse, many Internet connected devices come with factory default passwords, which are rarely changed (if ever). This makes these devices easy targets, and this fact isn’t lost on hackers. Resources like SHODAN allow them to scan the entire Internet for people using specific devices, making it easy for them to use factory default or weak passwords to help them execute their attacks.

Research has confirmed that many experts use password managers to help them maintain strong account security, but this practice hasn’t been widely picked up by other individuals, even though easy-to-use and secure password manager apps like F-Secure KEY are available to consumers for free. People can get by with such lax practices in their personal lives, but every company account should be seen and treated as critical, as access to company email accounts is often more lucrative than accessing an individual’s personal accounts.

“Changing passwords from time to time is a good idea, but I don’t think the importance of this is emphasized enough,” says Erka. “And keep in mind that this refers to passwords for everything, not just one or two thing. I think this isn’t something that most companies think about enough, so I would expect many passwords to go another year without being updated or strengthened in 2016.”

The fact that we don’t change our Wi-Fi passwords that ofter — if ever — is another great reason why you should never share it with anyone.

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