When and why you should use different usernames online

When and why you should use different usernames online

Stacey Harris by Stacey Harris on

You don’t reuse passwords, so why are you reusing your usernames? Using a unique username does more than just protect your privacy, it also has important security benefits.

Below, we’ll explain what threats unique usernames protect you from, when you should use a unique username, and how to use a username generator to create them.

The dangers of repetitive usernames

It’s risky to use the same username for everything. Why? Because if it’s visible to the public, or is exposed in a leak, cybercriminals don’t have to worry about figuring it out when they try to access any of your other online accounts. With more than 61 % of breaches involving credentials used to authenticate a user, having both a unique password and a unique username makes any attempts to breach your account more difficult.

Are you guilty of using a variation of your own name or adding some other personal identifying information – like your birth year – to make a new username unique? You’re not alone. However, using personal information in a username could leave you open to social engineering attacks intent on acquiring your credentials.

When your usernames are public, it means your accounts can be linked across different services. You may want the same handle for your social media accounts, but that doesn’t mean you should be using it to log into your private bank account, too. By separating your information with different usernames, you make it more difficult for potential hackers to gather a complete profile of you. There’s power in knowing what services someone uses, even if a hacker can’t access them.

Using random usernames helps protect you against phishing scams, credential stuffing, data leaks, and more. By using a unique username, any data of yours that may have been caught up in a leak will be rendered useless for accessing any of your other accounts.

When to use a random username

No, you don’t need a random username for every single account you own. Maybe you have a business where you need name recognition across accounts, or you want to make it easier for people to find you on Twitch, TikTok, and Instagram. There are many instances where having a random username isn’t necessary or feasible, and that’s okay. You won’t compromise your security by using the same username for a variety of accounts provided you’re using strong, unique passwords and enabling 2FA whenever possible.

You should, however, use unique usernames for accounts where the username isn’t public, or you want an extra layer of security against potential threats. You might already have some accounts where you use a different username to keep your identity secret. Many services let users choose a username different from the email address associated with the account. Always do this when you’re given the option, because your email address is generally easier for a cybercriminal to find. You should strive to use a unique username whenever the option is available.

Random username generators

When prompted for a username, many of us have a default go-to. Whether it’s a variation on your first or last name and a number, the handle you use for social media accounts, or a favourite character from a show – we’ve all got a username in our back pocket. Now, if you’re ready to take the secure step of using a unique username for every account, you have the added headache of coming up with something new. But never fear, you can use our username generator to create random usernames as well by selecting ‘memorable username’ in the options.

If the service requires your username to be an email address, you don’t have to use the same one. We recently partnered with Fastmail to create Masked Email – unique, automatically generated email addresses that keep your real one private from the services you sign up for, while still sending emails to your main Fastmail account. It’s the perfect way to protect yourself from both spam and breaches.

Managing unique usernames

Creating unique usernames for every account will essentially double the amount of unique information you need to remember. That’s where a password manager comes in. 1Password will save and fill both your username and password so you don’t have to remember either – letting you create complicated, unique usernames and secure passwords for every account.

While having unique, strong passwords and enabling 2FA are the best way to keep your account secure, using an online username generator is a great way to beef up your security with minimal effort – especially if you’re already using 1Password to autofill your account information. You don’t reuse passwords, so why are you reusing your usernames? Try our random username generator today and add an extra layer of security to your account.

Create a secure username

Want to stay secure online? Create a random username with 1Password’s free Username Generator!
Try 1Password's Username Generator

Content Marketing Manager

Stacey Harris - Content Marketing Manager Stacey Harris - Content Marketing Manager

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