A Favor to Yourself
Lots of New Year’s resolutions revolve around treating oneself better. Most of them, however, require commitment, discipline, and effort over time. We’d like to suggest making a change that could dramatically improve your year, but that can be completed in one sitting. Now that online services have gone mainstream and the potential value of personal information for hackers has skyrocketed, your online passwords have become more important than ever. Not only should you have complex, impossible-to-guess passwords, but you should also be changing them up regularly. By making a habit of changing your passwords at least annually, you’ll start each year off on a more secure foot and decrease the likelihood of your information getting into the wrong hands.
Change all critical passwords.
The services you actually use — Amazon, email, Google, your bank — have the most critical passwords. Changing and keeping track of these can be intimidating, but it’s well worth the effort. 2018 saw an unprecedented number of security breaches, with hackers making off with millions of people’s personal information. Some of the consequences remain to be seen, but identity theft has spiked dramatically.
Make it easy with a password keeper.
Remembering a dozen or more constantly changing passwords can sound impossible. Fortunately, there are plenty of tools that will do the memorization for you. Services like LastPass and Dashlane store all your passwords in one place, have free versions, and make sure you never lose track of a website for which you’ve created a login. These services work for all your devices so that you’ll only have to keep track of one master password to access them all. And for that one, you can still use a Post-It!
Password Protection Tips
- Use passwords that are long, complex and not made up of dictionary words.
- Never share your passwords with anyone.
- Use different passwords for different services.
- Store your passwords securely (never in a document on your computer).
- Use multifactor authentication when possible.
A little effort goes a long way.
The truth is, in 2019, most people are still using passwords poorly. Whether out of habit or the frustration of forgetfulness, Americans are using simple, easy-to-guess, frighteningly popular passwords. A glance at the worst passwords of 2018 reveals that too many people feel a little too secure while going about their online lives. By changing your passwords and brushing up on cyber hygiene, you’ll be putting yourself ahead of the pack when it comes to digital security. And what could be more valuable than that?