Passwords. Passwords everywhere. Any website we visit these days requires a username and password. It is not hard for one person to have logins for 100+ websites by the time we consider computer logins – work and home, email accounts – work and personal, banking institutions, social media, forums & blogs, shopping, multimedia and entertainment sites and more. There seems to be no end to them. What do most people do? Recycle the same username and password or some combination thereof.
Just take a look at this chart of the most popular passwords of 2014:
|Rank||Password||Change from 2013|
This is a monumental security risk. By gaining access to an individual’s email account, it’s possible to gain access to virtually every account that person owns. Identity theft, property theft, stalking an individual and or their family all of a sudden become very real threats. At the very least, everyone’s email should be protected by a unique and complex password. If available, two-factor authentication is highly recommended.
What constitutes a complex password? At minimum:
- 8 or more characters long
- Mix of uppercase and lowercase letters
- Special characters/symbols
A common form of two-factor authentication is an SMS code sent to a user’s cell phone once the primary password has been entered.
What about the rest? Password management apps have been around for a while and are starting to gain more traction due to ease of use. Our favorite is the aptly named 1Password, available for desktop and mobile platforms. As the name suggests, there is just one password to remember…the one securing the app. If you own a fingerprint reader enabled device such as an iPhone 5S or newer, fingerprints can be supplemented. Inside the app there are templates to store login information for each website/account a user owns and even a random password generator to help keep passwords unique. Additionally, web browser plugins are also available so that entering logins for any website can become a thing of the past. Not only is this faster but also more secure should a keylogger(software or device that tracks keyboard input) find its way into your system. It also has capabilities to sync between desktop computer and mobile devices ensuring consistency and redundancy.
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