Why You Shouldn't Use Pet Names on Passwords

Why You Shouldn't Use Pet Names on Passwords

Is your password hiding somewhere in your Instagram feed?

If you adore posting Fluffy's pictures, it might be! Let's explore why pet names aren't the safest choice for protecting your accounts.

Why Pet Names Are Password Don'ts

Unfortunately, our love for our pets translates to a security weakness. Here's why:

  • Easily Obtainable Information: We happily share our pet's names on social media, chat about them with friends and strangers, and sometimes their name is even on their collar tag!

  • Social Engineering: Hackers aren't just using brute-force attacks. They gather information (pets, hobbies, birthdays) to make educated guesses about your password, a tactic called social engineering.

  • Pet Password Popularity: Hackers might even use lists of common pet names, knowing many people incorporate them into passwords. These lists are easily found online.

Other Password Pet Peeves

Thinking you've outsmarted the system by adding variations to your pet's name isn't foolproof:

  • Pet Birthdays: If your pet's birth year is discoverable (adoption mentions, etc.), hackers can easily add it to their guess attempts.

  • Variations and Substitutions: Changing "Buddy" to "Bud3y" or adding "Spot!" offers minimal extra protection. Hackers' tools rapidly try these common tricks.

  • Breed-Specific Passwords: If people know your dog is a Labrador, and you were born in 2020, well, your password "Labrador2020" sadly isn't very strong.

Real-Life Consequences

It's easy to underestimate the risk, but pet-related password leaks happen all the time.

Take the case of a woman whose email was compromised after she used her cat's name with a few numbers as the password. Not only were personal messages exposed, but the hacker used that access to reset passwords for other accounts linked to her email.

How to Protect Yourself (and Your Pet!)

It's time to give your pet a break from password duty! Here's how to safeguard your accounts:

  • Employ Password Generators: Tools like HelpDesk Heroes Password Generator take the guesswork out of strong passwords. They create random passwords without any personal connection, making them much harder to crack.

  • Unique Passwords: Don't let "Buddy123" be the key to all your accounts. If a hacker cracks it on one site, they suddenly have access to others if you've reused it.

  • Password Managers: Don't want to remember a bunch of complex passwords? A password manager stores them securely and makes logging in a breeze.

Can Your Pet's Name Be Hacked?

As much as we love them, our pets shouldn't be our online bodyguards. Their names, birthdays, or breed info are simply too easy for skilled hackers to uncover and exploit.

A playful challenge: Could your current password pass a "hacker's pet detective" test? If not, it's time to rethink your strategy!

You can also use our free Password Generator tool to get yourself (and your pet!) a better password: https://password.helpdeskheroes.co.uk/

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