In this the first episode of year we talk about passwords, an update to blogoklahoma.com, and the top 5 things I will probably do in 2017. Oh and if you hear a slight rumbling in the background that's because it's raining a nice freezing rain right now. Yay! Let's hope the power stays up.
With all the news of the Russian hacking and leaked emails I think it's good we take time to review our online security.
So let's talk passwords. Hey let's be honest, passwords are one of the more annoying things we have to use to be online, but it's a very necessary annoyance. And because many of us have several different accounts online, getting lazy with our passwords is a very easy habit to fall into. Especially when we have to rely on our own memories.
Here are a few things you should be doing with your passwords.
First, you should use a unique password on each of your accounts. Don't reuse the same password across services. That means a different password for your Twitter, a different one for your Facebook, a different one for your email, and yet a different one for your online bank.
So if for any reason someone is able to get one of your password from one of your accounts, it makes it much more difficult for your other accounts to be accessed.
And yes I know this one thing will be one of the biggest headaches of them all. What password did I use for this account? I think I ask myself that at least once a week. And I'll have a tip for that a bit later.
Next use long and complex passwords. The reason for this is it makes it much more difficult for hackers to guess or decipher your password.
Many services, like online banks, already require you to do some of this. Use passwords that are over, oh let's say, 12 characters long. The longer the better. Use mix case - capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and punctuation marks.
Now you don't have to, but It's best to avoid dictionary words, like Monkey or Banana. If you do use actual words avoid normal capitalization, sentence structure, and natural phrasing. In other words you shouldn't use "This is my password." as your password.
Oh and if you do use number substitution in words avoid using zero for Os and 1 for Is and Ls. That trick has already been learned.
Now to add to your headache even more. You should somewhat regularly change your passwords.
Noooo! I really hate that! I'll never remember it! Well you have too. In fact many services require you to reset your password after so long anyways.
Okay so now you have a long, complex, and different password each of your accounts. You're secure, right?
Uhm. Maybe and No. There's something more you can do. You can turn on something called two factor authentication. As if this whole password things wasn't complicated enough. Now not every service has this as an option, but for those service that do offer it. Turn it on.
What two factor authentication does is uses your mobile phone as a secondary identification source. After you type in your password on a website, you'll be sent a text message with a number. Type in the number and you can get into your website. Some services offer apps that will do kind of the same thing except it might just be a big "is this you" button.
So now are you secure? Most likely, yes, but unfortunately you can never be sure. With your data being housed by a 3rd party, you just have to trust your data is secure. The hackers might not even get access to your stuff through you, but by some other hack. You'll hear about data breaches in the news and this is very unfortunate. Just ask Yahoo. But this honestly is an exception, for the most part your data is secure, your password and much of your information is encrypted. So even in the unfortunate case they did get it, they can't use it.
Okay now the tip I was going to mention. Beyond writing down your passwords in a notebook and storing that in a place only you can get to. There are password services and apps you can use to store your passwords, and when you visit a website they can even enter it in for you. The one service I like and recommend is called LastPass. LastPass encrypts all your information and only you have the encryption key to get into it. So now instead of having to remember all your passwords, and let's face it most of us can't. You only have to remember one master password to LastPass. Oh and trust me, remember that one.
What advice would you give on online security?
Here are the Top 5 things I'll probably do in 2017
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