Why should you care about the passwords you use (and re-use) online?

Published Dec 13, 2022, 7:00 AM
Written by Mansi Sheth-Parmar

You might have heard that we should use long passwords containing a mix of letters, numbers and symbols. But how does anyone remember complex passwords? Isn’t it OK to use the same password on unimportant sites?

Let’s think about a scenario where you might not think the password needs to be very secure.

Your child’s school asks you to sign up for a canteen/lunch delivery app, so you can order healthy lunches and have them delivered to the school. It’s simpler for the school not to run their own canteen and simpler for you not to fuss with money and orders or packing lunchboxes.

You decide this is a good idea. 

When you set up your new account for the canteen app you’re asked for your email address and password. 

If you use the same password you use on other websites, there’s a good chance this information could already have been hacked and be out in the world. This would mean that hackers using your login information could get into your account without you even knowing, and can see your name and address, your child’s name, school, class and what they eat.

I’m very careful about online security and don’t even share pictures of my child on social media, so I definitely wouldn’t be happy with a stranger seeing all that information.

How would hackers know to try your child’s canteen account?

Hackers use powerful software to try all the usernames and passwords they’ve stolen in as many locations as they can, hoping to find a way in somewhere. People who steal usernames and passwords aren’t necessarily interested in your child’s lunch. They’re usually most interested in getting access to the credit card number you just added to your account. However, information obtained from your account about your child could then be used in cyber-bullying or online child grooming. 

Here’s an article you can read to learn how to keep children and young people safe online.

Sometimes it’s people closer to home you should be worried about

Perhaps it’s not a faceless hacker that you’re most at risk from, but someone close to you who wants to snoop or someone who steals your phone or devices. 

If your phone and electronic devices aren’t locked with a password, PIN or other security setup, and this new canteen app and all your other apps are open there, so anyone picking up or stealing your devices can see all your info about you and your child.

What’s the solution if you don’t want to remember new passwords?

See my other Insight article 'Protect your passwords (without needing to remember them)' for the simplest ways to keep your passwords secure.


Hi I'm Mansi

Mansi is a Full-Stack Developer with ten years of experience working in the Digital space. She has worked with various technologies like Silverstripe, Laravel, ReactJS, Bootstrap, Foundation, etc. She is passionate about web technologies and enjoys solving challenging problems to help clients and businesses have a better digital presence. With her love for mathematics crossing over with software development, creating robust web solutions is never far-fetched for her.

Mansi Sheth-Parmar | Senior Developer

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