Passwords are such an integral part of our daily lives these days. There are passwords for our phones, passwords to voice mail, passwords for banking, passwords for email, passwords for Facebook, and the list goes on. If I were to ask you what the most important password is, most of us would say the password to our bank. That’s where we would feel the most pain if someone were to be able to get in. Right?
Wrong! The most important password you have is the one to your email account. It doesn’t matter if you don’t use your email account for anything private. It doesn’t matter if you don’t use your email for electronic statements. It does matter if someone can use your email to request a password reset!
If they have your email address, they can find you on Facebook. If they access Facebook, they can find several pieces of publicly available information (if you supplied it) that aligns with security questions that are frequently asked as part of a password reset. Between the two, it would be reasonably easy for someone to get into all of your critical systems.
I recommend that you have a password for your email that is unique, changed at least quarterly, and fits the requirements of a strong password (a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters, without any dictionary words included). If you need help with password management, see my earlier post here on the topic.