Too many people I see do not have strong locks on their online doors - leaving themselves vulnerable.
They argue that it is too hard to improve these locks - that they won't remember the password if they make it more complex and unique. Instead they use simple, easy-to-guess passwords and/or the same password across multiple online accounts.
I do understand how hard it is - and how stressful it can be when you don't know the password for a particular account or app.
Sadly, being 'hacked' will be a lot more stressful. And there are relatively simple solutions to the problems of thinking up unique, strong passwords and then recalling them when they are needed.
Coming up with a unique, strong password
It is essential that any account you set up has a strong password, one that is different to any password that you use for other online accounts. Here's an article that might help you think up unique, complex, but easy-to-remember passwords.
Here is another article that I came across just this week - and it has a 'password generator' in it to make generation of a random password really easy.
How do you then remember all those passwords?
The simple answer is "You don't"! You just store them somewhere safe, somewhere that you can look then up whenever you need them.
For many people I see, this is a 'little black book' in the handbag. For others, the solution is storing passwords in the Contacts app, or in Notes on their iPhone or iPad.
These options are not going to be secure if someone gets hold of your 'little black book' or your unlocked device. (Have I mentioned that all your computers and mobile devices should be password protected too?)
My suggestion is that you store your passwords in something called a 'password safe' - an app that you download to your iPad, iPhone or other device, and that allows you to securely store all your passwords.
You lock this safe with a single password, and you then only need to remember that password to unlock the safe and determine all your other passwords.
That gives you only two-ish (in theory) passwords to commit to memory - the password/passcode to unlock your device, then the password to unlock your safe.
How do you find one of these 'password safe' (or 'password manager) apps? Here are some articles offering recommendations, which will hopefully help you find the app that is right for you (based on the type of device you are using).
For anyone on an iPad or iPhone, the app that I have been suggesting to iTandCoffee clients is 1Password, which has a free version that will meet your needs. (Ignore one of the above articles above which says you must pay a subscription - this is not the case.)
Just download it from the App Store on your i-Device. You'll need your iTunes and App Store password for that, so hopefully you'll remember it!
If you are an iTandCoffee Club member, here is a video you can watch about 1Password, recorded at a one-hour workshop that was held at iTandCoffee last year. (If you are not a member of the iTandCoffee Club, find out more here.)
Add a further layer of protection
Personally, I would never store any information with a 'cloud storage' or email service provider (eg. Dropbox, Google, iCloud, OneDrive, Evernote, Microsoft, other mail providers, etc) unless the provider of that storage offers 'two step verification' (also known as 'two step authentication'). This applies to both my personal and business data.
All my email and data storage accounts have this double layer of protection, so that my email address and password are not enough for someone to gain unauthorised access to my account.
If an attempt is made to access my account from a device that has not previously been confirmed as 'safe', a security code is sent to my iPhone. This code must be entered before access can be gained to the account, blocking the attempted 'hacker'.
If you have not yet set up two-step verification on your own online accounts, I would highly recommend doing this as soon as possible.
Here are links to each of the most popular products' web pages, providing details of how to set up this two-step verification.
Need help with your passwords or 2-step verification setup?
Of course, if you need help with setting up this extra layer of security (or changing your passwords to make them more secure), iTandCoffee can help. Justbook an appointment using our online booking system, or call 1300 885 420
Join us to learn about setting up a Password Safe - and Staying Safe Online
If you are a Melbourne ready, why not attend our Managing all those #$&! P455W0RD5! information session at iTandCoffee - a hands-on workshop where you will learn how to set up a password safe on your mobile device. See below for upcoming dates and bookings. (You'll also see our 'Staying Safe Online' information session listed - why not join us one day soon for this session.)
It's FREE for Seniors Card Holders, for those who are part of the BeConnected program at iTandCoffee, and for iTandCoffee Club members (using your applicable free class allowance).
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