How Groundhog Day Inspired us to Stop Reusing Passwords

Bag of popcorn

In anticipation of Groundhog Day, I rewatched the 1993 movie of the same title. While I was expecting to sit back and enjoy this lighthearted film – I was suddenly struck by a haunting parallel. The mistakes Phil makes in the movie are very similar to the mistakes we tell you to avoid with your passwords! Okay, maybe that’s a stretch, but stick with me.

In the movie, weatherman Phil Connors travels to Punxsutawney to report on Groundhog Day and whether there will be six more weeks of winter. He’s very skeptical of this tradition and generally unhappy about the whole trip – and takes it out on everyone around him. He goes to bed the night of Groundhog day, only to wake up the next morning on February 2nd, again! The whole movie follows him repeating Groundhog day over and over… making the same mistakes.

Now, we like to watch Phil and laugh and think we are better than him. We would never make the same mistakes over and over. But we do every day. We reuse our passwords! (I told you there was a connection!)

91% of people understand the risk of reusing passwords, but 61% still do it1! Think of it like this: Every time you reuse a password, you’re adding an additional loop you have to spend on February 2nd, in Punxsutawney – and “its cold out there…its cold out there every day.”

Doing the same thing over and over isn’t going to get you anywhere. You’ll be stuck in limbo until you make some big changes. Thankfully in your case you won’t have to learn French or how to make ice sculptures, like Phil. All you have to do is create unique and strong passwords.

You can use the LastPass password generator to create these passwords for you. Either visit the site or create one directly from your browser extension. You can set the exact parameters you need for your password – like password length, minimum number of numeric characters, symbol and capitalization requirements, and more.

Every time you create a new account and password online, just click that browser extension in the top right corner and then “Generate Secure Password” and one will be created for you. And don’t feel daunted by how complicated your secure password is – you won’t need to remember it. LastPass will do that for you.

Don’t forget to go back and update your existing reused passwords too. If you’re not sure which of your passwords are reused, you can take the LastPass security challenge. This will identify all your passwords that need updating. From your vault, simply click “Security Challenge” in the left sidebar.

That’s it! Your Groundhog Day loop should be broken – and your accounts will be much more secure.

Footnotes

1. LastPass Psychology of the Password 2016 Report

24 Comments