The best way to protect yourself and your personal identity online, that you can control, is your effective use and management of your online passwords. You cannot control whether someone is able to hack into a major website. You can control your passwords, which could significantly limit the effect of online hacking and security breaches.
Put simply, hackers will use the information they obtain from one website to access other websites. If they have your email address and a frequently used password, you are subject to much greater online security risk. This is why it is important that you do NOT use the same password(s) at many or all of the websites you log into. By following the steps below, you can greatly reduce this risk.
The goal of this blog post is to help you get started with better password management and to significantly improve your password security.
5 Steps to Better Password Protection:
- Identify the following websites you frequently use:
- Your online e-mail account.
- The bank account that you access the most online, or use the most.
- The credit card that you access the most online, or use the most.
- The website that you visit the most, which has a password or username.
- This does not need to be a financial website, just one you visit frequently. It could be an online newspaper or sports website.
- Websites that also have the same passwords as any of the above websites.
- For each of the websites listed above, change your password for these sites. This should take you less than 30 minutes, at the most.
- When you change your passwords, follow these basic concepts:
- Your password for each website should be different. Do not repeat passwords.
- Each password should be at least 8 characters, and include a random combination of all the following: capitalized letters, lower case letters, at least one number and other symbols.
- Examples: 59*Tm@8W, MT27&$keAP
- For the other websites you’ve identified under #1 above, which you have repeated passwords at multiple websites, change a few of these passwords over the next week.
- For example, 5 website passwords each day, for the next week.
- Start to use a password manager program, which helps to save and retrieve your passwords, and can log into websites without you having to remember all your passwords.
- I use and highly recommend 1Password. There are other programs, some which are cheaper, but this is a great one.
- By using 1Password, you can login to their app or icon on your internet browser and 1Password’s program will enable you to login to most websites without you having to remember each and every password.
- 1Password stores and helps you create new passwords. Their program works across all devices, so you have your passwords with you, on your phone, PC or tablet. This is way better than paper.
We have more detailed suggestions, which you can read in these previous blog posts: Practical Tips for Online Security and How to Securely and Efficiently Manage Your Passwords.
Our goal is to provide our clients with a secure future. As technology has become pervasive in our society, internet and password security is an important aspect of your financial well being.
We truly hope that you take the steps recommended here.
If you have questions, or would like further guidance on this topic, please contact Brad, at firstname.lastname@example.org.