Why you should use a unique password for every online account

Use a strong password

To improve user security, ExpressVPN now asks users to create a password that they don’t use elsewhere, and it must contain:

  • At least 8 characters
  • At least one number
  • At least one symbol (e.g., #, {, @, !, ?)

Why you should never use the same password twice

For protection against hacks, it’s important to create a unique password for every account that you open, including ExpressVPN.

There are constant attacks on websites, leading to the frequent theft of user login credentials, and nefarious ne’er-do-wells will target vulnerable sites that lack the same protection as, for example, a bank does.

An attack could be as simple as using a spoof admin email to ask a low-level moderator of a forum page for user emails and passwords. Once a hacker has these details, they will try them on a host of more secure online services.

So even if you have the strongest password in the world, if you use the same one for a kitten pic forum as you do for your bank, you are at risk of a significant hack.

Of course, it would require a Herculean feat of mental strength to remember all those passwords, but you can use a password manager to make life easier.

The importance of strong passwords

ExpressVPN takes various measures to protect user accounts, including a ReCaptcha system to thwart non-human logins, but it’s still important to use a robust password.

A brute force attack is when an attacker will spam passwords in an attempt to guess a login, which is why password length and complexity is incredibly important—just one extra digit increases the time it will take to hack your account exponentially.

For example, a password that contains only 4 letters only has 456,976 combinations, but one with 5 has 11,881,376.

By including numbers and all symbols (96 characters), and with a minimum 8 character password, there are 457,163,239,653,376 possible combinations for ExpressVPN passwords.

Though 8 is the minimum of characters ExpressVPN will accept, the more you use, the more secure your account will be. A 12 digit password has 94^12 (475,920,314,814,253,376,475,136) combinations and would take a computer 7.5 million years to crack at two billion guesses per second.

Protect your online accounts with a strong password

Use a random password generator to make your passwords long and complicated and use a password manager to remember them, so you don’t have to.

Why not update your ExpressVPN password to something more secure right now? This guide will show you how. For some different and, dare we say it, exciting techniques to pick a secure password, check out this guide by Lexie.

Johnny 5 is the founding editor of the blog and writes about pressing technology issues. From important cat privacy stories to governments and corporations that overstep their boundaries, Johnny covers it all.