Privacy, Security

Are Unique Usernames are Best for Security and Privacy?

Feb. 8, 2022 / My Data Removal Staff
a world map, super-imposed with ones and zeros and a login box asking for your username and password

It is pretty well-known that unique passwords (using a different password for every site) are better for your security than reusing passwords. Something that is less well-known, however, is that unique usernames are also good for security and privacy. This article will focus on why unique usernames are valuable and how to implement them. Unique usernames, when combined with unique passwords, takes your privacy and security to a new level.

If keeping track of unique usernames and passwords seems like a lot to handle, here is our article on password managers.

Definition

A unique username means that you use a different username or email address for every account you have.

Why does this matter?

Using a unique username adds a layer of security to your accounts. There have been numerous instances where a hacker tries breached data from one site on another site. If you use the same username everywhere, it makes it much easier for your other accounts to get hacked.

There are services that let you type in a username, and then it checks to see if the username is taken at hundreds of different websites. So if you use the same username at reddit, discord, and 30 other websites, it makes it much easier to piece together a more complete story on you. If, on the other hand, the username only exists on one platform, it makes it much harder to link together all the information about you.

How do you come up with usernames?

We will discuss three methods, and it would probably be best to use all of them from time-to-time.

What about when I have to use an email address as my login?

Some websites or services require you to use an email address as your username. You have less flexibility than picking a random username, but there are still a few things you can do to make them unique. Here are three things you can do to have a unique username when using an email address.

If the above options don’t work for an account, you can still use your primary email address. Just keep in mind it would be great to limit the number of services that you do that with.

Perfect is the enemy of good

Do your best. You likely can’t have unique usernames everywhere, but try to be unique when you can and limit where you reuse your login information.

Digital privacy and security are a marathon, not a sprint. Good luck!

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