Imagine that you sit down after a long day at work, pick up your favorite device, and all of your social media, bank website/app, and anything else that requires a username and password is logged out. Do you know all of your passwords? If not, how many times have you guessed until you were locked out? How frustrating is that?
In this crazy world of internet security that we live in, username and passwords are a way a of life. If you’re like most people, you have multiple usernames for sites (firstname.lastname@example.org, jdoe, johndoe, jdoeboy43, etc.), and, due to different security rules for each site, you have multiple passwords that you use (HeartThrob56, ht3456, HEARTthrob5%, etc.). How in the world are people supposed to keep up with this? Why not make this easier?
If the login process is too easy, your data on that website won’t be secure. If you’ve ever had your identity stolen, been locked out of a account at a critical time, or were a part of the Target, Anthem, or other company cyberattack, you know how much more of an inconvenience that is than remembering some passwords. Here are some best practices with keeping your data secure as painless as possible
- Create strong passwords. Many cyber criminals use password cracking tools that look at word and number combinations, so avoid using dictionary words, proper nouns, foreign words, or even words spelled backwards (#toptip: don’t use “racecar” spelled backwards). The more random that you can make the combination of letters, symbols, and numbers, the stronger your password will be, and the safer you will be online. Also, passwords that are easy to type, like zxcvb1234 (rows on a keyboard) are easy for hackers to figure out, too.
- Be careful where you store your passwords! Storing them on a post-it note on or under your desk is not a great idea. Also, be careful where you store documents files that you save your passwords in on your computer or in the cloud; make sure it’s in a VERY secure location. Having Chrome/Firefox/Internet Explorer/Safari store them can be okay, but if someone gets on your computer or phone, you could be in major trouble.
- Avoid using the same password for multiple sites. If someone gets a hold of your password after hacking your favorite quilting message board, which may not be as secure as your email account or your bank, and it’s the same password as other accounts, a cyber criminal can do a lot of damage.
- Google and other websites have started offering multi-step verification, which on top of your password, you’ll be asked for something else. After you enter your password, it will ask you to maybe to send a code to your phone, a series of questions like “what is your favorite pet’s name,” or “what was the model of your first car,” or even to insert a security key into your computer’s USB port. Yes, that sounds like a pain, but it will make it very hard for anyone to hack your account. Other sites have offered this this as an option recently, too, to protect your valuable data. This is highly recommended to keep you safe online.
Now that we may have made it even harder for you to remember your new passwords since you’ve now discovered that the HeartThrob56 password is so easy to crack, how in the world are you going to remember or manage all of your unique passwords passwords for every site?
We recommend using a product like LastPass (https://lastpass.com/). It uses the leading encryption technology and allows you to browse on all of your devices with one password. It hooks into your Chrome/Firefox/Internet Explorer/Safari or mobile device and offers you one place to direct all
So, what will you do to make your passwords safer?