- Don’t pick a weak password- By weak, don’t choose something obvious like your birthday or the birthday of any of your children or siblings. Put yourself in the shoes of a stalker.. what information can a person get from your social media pages?
- Use multi-factor authentication, means setting up two-factor authentication. The simplest way is to use text messaging as your second authenticator method.
- Consider biometrics. But, don’t skimp on price. If you buy something cheap don’t count on it working for long.
- Don’t use the same password for all your sites.
- Consider a password manager. A few favorites are highlighted below.
- Don’t log into your email or any financial institution on a public network.
- Avoid using real words. Mix up letters, numbers, and characters with an optimum length of 15-22 characters.
- Change passwords on a regular basis, at least a few times a year.
- Don’t share your passwords-ever. Especially, if you may have used the same password on other sites.
- Always use the “auto-update” software option on your phone, tablet, laptop, and computer.
- If you have a website, change your login password on the admin portal of your site AND the server or hosting site.
- Use a VPN on your desktop and phone.
If you set up “Recovery Email” make sure you change your security questions and answers once a month, if possible. Most people use the same set of questions and answers to make it easy to remember, but this also equates to it being easy for hackers to gain access.
Consider password managers like LastPass or Sticky Password
Use antivirus software on your computer and make sure your network firewall and any websites you run also have firewalls that are frequently scanned and updated.
Let’s chat about two great password managing application options.
LastPass is one of the best freemium password managers available. Since it’s not a new app. it has evolved into a easy to use, easy to understand and hard to hack application.
The standard version of LastPass comes with a web interface, but also includes plugins for various web browsers and apps for many smartphones. Their strong encryption algorithms use AES-256 bit encryption with PBKDF2 SHA-256 and salted hashes to ensure complete security in the cloud. What is even better is that your data is encrypted and decrypted at the device level vs. the server lever. This means that LastPass cannot access your data.
Interested? Pull open a browser window and let’s get it set up:
1. Download LastPass from https://www.lastpass.com/ When the icon turns red, you are successfully logged in.
After you download LastPass, you’ll find the icon in your browser toolbar. All the major browsers support LastPass: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Explorer and more.
2. Click on the extension to see your menu options
3. Either manually add your sites, import from a CSV file, import/export from another password manager or import sites from your email.
4. Use the left side menu to add:
5. Set up the sharing center and Emergency Access just in case you get locked out and need to regain access or if you need someone to access your personal information. You can grant and revoke privileges with a click of a button.
6. Take full advantage of LastPass’s “Security Challenge”. LastPass will keep you updated of weak, stale or re-used passwords.
7. Let’s discuss price… it’s free. If you choose the premium level, it’s $3.00-4.00 a month.
Another great password manager is StickyPassword. StickyPassword is a lot like LastPass, with the exception that they donate money to save manatees. Yup, that’s right, manatees-that’s pretty cool.
Here are a few more variances comparing LastPass free version and Sticky Password free version:
Unlike LastPass, StickyPassword does not:
1. Offer cloud and local Wifi sync across all devices
2. Secure cloud backup for all passwords and data
3. Secure password sharing
If you are ready to set up your StickyPassword account.. follow along.
1. Go to the StickyPassword website: https://www.stickypassword.com/
2. Download to your Mac or PC
3. At the “Welcome” screen, click “Next”
4. Click “Create a New Account”
5. Enter your email address and create a Master Password.
6. Click “Create my Account”
7. Confirm your Master Password.
8. If you are using a paid account or a temporary premium account, choose from one of the following sync options:
Cloud sync is enabled by default. When you disable your encrypted database never leaves your device.
9. Now, it’s time to add your logins, passwords, and online forms. In order to do so, you will need to add the extension to your browsers. If you use more than one browser, you will need to add them to each browser extension.
10. At the “All Set” confirmation page, click “Start” to begin using StickyPassword
Hope these tips help keep you and your kids safe from hackers, malware, spyware and viruses. The cost you may incur up front by investing in a VPN, or password safe is significantly less than paying to have damage removed from your computer, phone, or creditors.