Using secure passwords to protect your online information is the first line of defense against identity theft. Yet, let’s admit it. We still have bad habits when it comes to developing and securing our passwords. However, it’s important to remember that your data, your personal information is gold in the wrong hands. Let’s build some good habits.
First let’s talk storage. We could eliminate these two very bad habits if we stored our passwords properly:
- Using the same password on multiple accounts
- Writing passwords in notebooks and on pieces of paper
Good Password Habit #1
Find and use a password manager. The best password managers provide a vault for your passwords storing both your username and password, generate passwords and provide bank level encryption.
Using a password manager will eliminate the need to use the same password over and over again because you are afraid you’ll forget it. It also eliminates the need to write it down. With a password manager, you’ll only need to remember your master password. That’s it, one password for them all. Simply stated, password managers can simplify your digital life by remembering your passwords, so you don’t have to!
Here are a few options:
Personally, I recommend LastPass. LastPass comes with an extension for most browsers, Chrome, Firefox, etc., which makes remembering your passwords and the log in process a breeze. LastPass is also an available app in the App store for your mobile devices. Lastly, LastPass simplifies sharing passwords with team members and family.
Try Last Pass for free. LastPass is $24 a year for individuals and $48 for a family of 6, a bargain my humble opinion. However, I used it for free for an entire year before I decided to buy.
Good Password Habit #2
Choose long passwords with numbers, letters and symbols. The longer a password is the harder it is to crack. Try 12-character or longer passwords. Try a long phrase switching between upper and lowercase letters and replacing numbers and special characters where possible.
For example, “The Flight of the Bumblebee” as a password could be written as THEf!ight0Fth3BUMBLEB33
For good measure, check the strength of your password with a password strength meter like, My1Login
Good Password Habit #3
Change your passwords every six months by setting an anniversary date. Here is what I mean. In our house, we change the batteries in our smoke detectors each fall using the date we bought our house. Set a date every six months to generate a new password for at least your primary accounts, medical, bank, email, web site, etc.
Good Password Habit #4
Don’t let your computer store your password except in a password manager. If your computer is stolen…you’ve provided immediate access to all your passwords.
Good Password Habit #5
Make sure you know how to recover your password or how to generate a new password. Your log in account is not only tied to your username and password but also tied to an email account or mobile phone number. Thus, if you change your email address, remember to update all your accounts with the new email address.
For example, on the EBWN site you can reset your log in password by selecting the You’re your Password link on the Log in page. You’ll be directed to provide your username or email address. This email address must be the one associated with your EBWN log in account to receive the email notification that allows you to create a new password.
Good Password Habit #6
Never reveal your passwords to anyone who does not have a legitimate business need for it.
There you have it — six good passwords habits to protect you from fraud.
If you’d like to learn more about securing your web site, I’d love to discuss maintenance options you can employ yourself. You can also hire TWK Web and Print Design to handle web site maintenance for you. Contact Tumikia for more information.