Looking back over the last 20 years (I’m writing this in 2014), the use of systems and passwords has become an unwanted but unavoidable requirement in our daily lives. We always require to be aware of many forms and layers of online protection of our sensitive data. Some examples where we need to use passwords, passphrases, identifiable images, etc. they are banks, schools, credit cards, emails, work login, job search, kids account, entertainment, communications and more and more. As for the number, all these requirements are increasing and as for the complication, they are becoming more and more complicated to use and manage.
Twenty years ago, you only had two account passwords that you had to manage. An email and a bank account. Today I manage more than 200 safety memory chips online, even for myself and my family! (Wow, writing this makes me feel safe! Really…?)
Again, 20 years ago, you could enter 6 letters or numbers and it was considered a strong password. Today, I have to use uppercase and lowercase alphabets, numbers, and special characters with strength indicators that show the strength of the password as we enter it to understand how strong and secure the password is (in case there is a cybercrime to crack typing passwords.) Many companies won’t let me use parts of my name in the password. Then I have to associate my account with an image and have the image in mind. I also have to answer some security questions (typically 3-5). To add even more, from time to time I need to associate and confirm my account with a cell phone number! Then there is a separate 4 digit pin for bank ATMs etc. Even my voice mail has a 6 digit access code!
Speaking of complexity! Speaking of memorizing!
Is technology useful to protect our confidential data? Yes! Has technology compounded the problem and pushed us much more to manage in terms of passwords, security, etc.? Yes!
So how do you handle these complications? Here are some pros and cons for it.
1. Use long and complex passwords.
2. Generate and use random passwords yourself.
3. Store your passwords in an isolated secure file. Write if you want. Even better is to spend a few bucks to have a dedicated drive, USB, etc.
4. Use limited login attempts at all allowed institutions. It basically means that after 3 or 2 or 4 (whatever number is set) failed login attempts, your account will be automatically deactivated and you will have to go in person or call to prove your ID and then get your account back. It seems annoying at first, but it’s a great tool to protect your ID in the long run.
5. Answer security questions in a non-traditional way. Example; Name of the first dog. Traditional answer: whiskey. Non-traditional answer: Ihadnodog.
6. Always keep your current backup off of your computer, such as on a USB drive.
7. Many experts suggest using copy and paste instead of typing in web forms, so follow that when you log in.
8. Have a really complex master password for any files you may be using to store and protect your sensitive information, like passwords, security questions, etc.
9. Change your passwords often. Please update your record if you are managing it.
10. Always have a working antivirus program installed. Run the program every few days in manual mode.
11. Delete accounts you no longer need.
not to do
1. Do not use any online system to save and protect your data. Chrome or Internet Explorer may be causing it to “remember” your login information. It could be a service provider tool like Norton protection. I personally call it third party dependency and it can restrict, corrupt or disintegrate at any time. Your passwords and other information are lost without any backup in this case and in worst case, everything can now be available to someone else as well.
2. Never use the same password for more than one login wallet.
3. Don’t use easy-to-guess passwords like: abc123, 123ABC, 0123456789, XYZ, etc. Cybercrime computers attack through the Internet and try thousands of password combinations in a minute. They can easily guess the easy passwords and login to your account. The damage can take a long time to repair in this case!
4. Don’t use a computer to generate random passwords.
5. Do not give access to unknown applications through social networks.
6. Avoid the use of public computers in libraries, schools, restaurants, hotels, etc. If you have to use it, please uncheck the “remember me” option before login and delete everything after use, such as cookies, history, etc. Make sure you have permission to delete it and that you are not violating any public institution policy.
7. Sharing a password is generally prohibited, so don’t share your passwords.
Creating and managing according to these guidelines will help protect your accounts and the security of your data for an extended period of time.