Password Management: Protect yourself online
eBay have admitted that their servers were hacked earlier this year, with the hackers taking millions of peoples’ account information: Name, Address, email address, telephone number, date of birth and password. Enough information to be more than a cause for concern. eBay are urging users to change their password. This helps eBay stay secure, but what about you? Are you secure?
One Password Everywhere
This incident has caused me to look at my own password management, and be much more proactive with my passwords. Historically I used to have one password (with the odd variant) that I used in many different places. Over the last few years I have started to change this. I still find that when I open a new account somewhere, I tend to revert back to my ‘One Password’. This is very risky behaviour. It’s the same as cutting multiple copies of your front door key, and leaving them in random shops and places that you visit, and on the odd occasion leaving a note with your home address on it too! Although I would wager that this is less risky, because the likelyhood is that the key will be picked up and returned to you by a kind-hearted person. Those who are seeking to steal your information do not do so with the intention of returning it to you.
What’s the answer?
The answer is to be pro-active in changing your login information. Ideally each password should be unique. How easy is it to do this? It’s easy to start with your new accounts, because you can create unique passwords from today. Historic passwords will require a bit more time & effort I’m afraid, but worth the effort – just don’t try to do them all in one go!
Having unique passwords is not as hard as it used to be. Web-browsers will generate strong unique passwords for you (and apply them across multiple devices). This is an ok solution, but the best solution I have found is a smartphone App to manage my passwords. There are several out there, but my one of choice is iAccounts for iPhone and iPad (Link here). There is a lite version, but this only gives you 10 records, so it won’t be long before you need the full version.
It will store all manner of information for me, passwords, logins, bank card, bank account info (this in itself is very useful!). iAcounts has password protection upon opening (make sure you have a PIN on your phone to begin with for extra security). What I also like about this app is that it will generate passwords for me, giving me unique passwords whenever I need. It will also allow me to copy and paste the password, so when I login I don’t need to know the password, just copy & paste it into the login box. It will also backup my passwords to my computer with a free app. This gives me the security of having passwords backed up, and the added ability to add new login information from my computer. This makes getting passwords across your devices very simple!
Now is the time to change your password habits and form new, more secure ones!
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