World Password Day – First Thursday of May
Today is World Password Day which occurs the first Thursday of May each year. We all hate passwords, when we are prompted to change them it is such an annoyance! Someday we will live in a world where passwords will be a distant memory. This future is not yet hear so it is vital that we practice good password hygiene now.
We continuously hear of data breaches on the news and accounts continuing to be hacked. What can you do to protect yourself and your digital accounts? Here are some tips that we recommend and also recommend that you check out the resources at the bottom of this post.
- Check to see if your email accounts have been compromised. Go to: https://haveibeenpwned.com and enter your email address to check to see if it has been compromised in any known data breaches. If it has then change the password on the affected accounts and burn the password that was used as it’s now for sale on the Dark Web and linked to your address. So any other places that the password and email address have been used are also now at risk so change them there as well.
- Use strong random passwords. To do this we recommend using a password manager. There are several very good options and will provide additional links to them below. One that we highly recommend is LastPass. This service makes it easy to generate strong random passwords for each online service. Securely share with other LastPass users who may need access to the same account. We have used it for years and it works well.
- Use 2 Factor Authentication (2FA) or Multi-factor Authentication. Enabling this security feature on your online resources will increase the accounts security tremendously. We recommend that this be enabled on your email services/accounts, any financial services/accounts. This is the best way to prevent unauthorized users from accessing your online resources.
- Keep your computers and mobile devices up-to-date. When an exploit or vulnerability is discovered then the developers will create a “patch” to fix the hole in the application/system. If the holes in the applications and operating systems are not regularly patched then the chance that you will be breached increases over 85%. Regularly checking to ensure your Operating System is up-to-date using it’s update mechanism and regularly updating the third party applications (e.g. Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash, Java are three of the most vulnerable) Also check to make sure the auto-update feature in your Internet browsers is working and that they are up-to-date. If you have a business and multiple computers to manage then Computer Gurus can do this for you and keep everything up-to-date across your network. For home users one useful application to help with the third party apps is found at patchmypc.net
The old adage “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is also true for your digital hygiene. Taking a few steps now to protect yourself will save you a-lot of headache later.
- What is Two-Factor Authentication: https://www.techopedia.com/definition/13699/twofactor-authentication, https://www.passwordday.org/
- Password managers: LastPass, DashLane, LogMeOnce, StickyPassword, 1password
- Account and Password Breach Notification: https://haveibeenpwned.com
- Application updater: PatchMyPC.net