Still using the same password across multiple websites? Mozilla has released a new tool just for people like you.
Mozilla hopes that the Firefox add-on "Password Reuse Visualizer," which visually maps your password use across the web, will encourage people to create securer and more unique passwords. Mozilla writes:
By looking at this visualization, you can get a quick idea of which passwords you've been using the most, and the kinds of sites you're using them on. As you continue to change your passwords and update your password manager, the picture will improve!
The add-on, which can be found here, creates a password web that shows you which passwords you've been using for which sites and warns you if multiple passwords are too similar to one another.
The green nodes represent the different passwords, the blue nodes are the sites you use them on, and the orange squares that may appear between password nodes mean that those passwords are in the same family. As Mozilla points out, an orange square doesn't necessarily mean the passwords need to be changed, since using variations on a similar password can be a good way to cut down on password overload without compromising security.
Gizmodo counters that passwords that are available for inclusion in the graphic have already been compromised. The visualizer can only access passwords that are saved on the browser, i.e. ones that you have asked websites to "remember."
"As soon as you save your passwords, it's game over," Gizmodo's Jamie Condliffe writes. "If someone steals your laptop, bad luck: those passwords can be recovered even if the thief can't log-in to your user account."
Want to see how easy it is to access a complete list of your saved passwords in Firefox? Simply go to Preferences --> Security --> Saved Passwords -- > Show Passwords and a dialogue box pops up that shows a list of usernames, passwords and the websites they are associated with.
On his Ask Leo blog, software and computer veteran Leo Notenboom suggests that internet users refrain from ever allowing websites to save login information. At the very least, he suggests Firefox users should create a master password so that their saved passwords will be encrypted. The master password option can be found under the Security tab in the Firefox preferences (though there are a few caveats to opting for a master password, which Notenboom outlines here).
Of course the first step in avoiding a cyber break-in is to create strong passwords to begin with. According to a Daily Finance post, good passwords are a combination of numbers, symbols and upper and lower-case letters and should be changed every six months no matter how tricky you think they are. And please don't make your password the word "password," which according to SplashData's November 2011 list of the 25 worst passwords, is the "secret" code that is easiest to hack. Check out the rest of the terrible 25 in our post here.