Password reuse attacks: what they are, and how to protect yourself

Password reuse attacks: what they are, and how to protect yourself

Sarah Brown by Sarah Brown on

With so many accounts to keep track of, the temptation to reuse the same password is understandable. Sure, you might vary it slightly by adding a different number at the end or throwing in an exclamation point. But while this may seem like a solid plan for remembering passwords, it also leaves you vulnerable to password reuse attacks.


What is a password reuse attack?

Hackers are extremely skilled at finding the chinks in your security armor, and they’ll jump at the chance to take advantage of people who use the same password for multiple accounts. Password reuse attacks occur when a hacker gets their hands on the password for one compromised account, then tries using it to sign in to other websites.

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The more a password is reused, the more opportunities there are for that password to be compromised or stolen. And instead of simply losing access to that one compromised account, you may find yourself dealing with a cascade of issues, with devastating results for your privacy and online security.

If your go-to password was used for your email, it could mean a complete lock-out of all your accounts faster than you can react.

Avoiding password reuse attacks

The best way to keep yourself protected online is to use strong, unique passwords for every account. That way, even if your password for one website is compromised, the others stay secure. This is especially crucial when you create accounts for websites that store sensitive or financial data.

We know that can be difficult to manage on your own, so that’s why 1Password was created. It generates strong passwords for you, stores them securely, and even fills them when you need to sign in.

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Watchtower and password reuse

The good news is that even if you’ve been reusing passwords for years, it’s never too late to stop. This is where the Strong Password Generator and Watchtower come into play.

Watchtower automatically checks the login items you store in 1Password and alerts you if any of your passwords have been compromised. Watchtower also lists items with either reused or weak passwords, helping you to course-correct and generate new, stronger passwords.

We continually update Watchtower as security breaches are reported, so you can quickly determine if your accounts are at risk. Integration with checks passwords in a database of exposed passwords, so you can make necessary adjustments before any damage can be done.

Sarah Brown

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1Password does more than keep your passwords secure. It also syncs them across your devices and can fill them in for you, too. Have more than passwords to protect? No problem — files, photos, scans and more can all be kept secure right inside 1Password.
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Sarah Brown

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