TOOLS: 5 tips to keep your passwords safer.

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Hacker attackingIt is a sad fact of internet life that spammers, crackers, and hackers exist, and that they often prey on people who don’t have the knowledge, wherewithal, or drive to protect their passwords.  Teens and tweens just starting out on the internet are particularly vulnerable.  While it may not seem like such a big deal if someone impersonates you online, or gets access to your snapchat account, it changes in complexity when you realize they could lock you out of it, plant a worm that captures your keystrokes, steal your identity, and figure out your credit card password or bank card password.  

While no password is completely unhackable, there are VERY easy steps you can take to make it VERY DIFFICULT to steal or guess your password.  

 These tips are courtesy of  an expert in cyber-security, the CTO and co-founder of Keeper Craig Lurey. I had the opportunity to interview Craig last week.  Keeper is an app that is designed to store all of your passwords so that you don’t have to remember them.  You can find out more at https://www.keepersecurity.com/

 

Here are the tips:

1) USE 2 FACTOR AUTHENTICATION.  If your sites have it, you should use it.  Basically, 2 factor authentication requires you not only to have a password, but to have access to another device (typically a cell phone)  The service with the authentication sends a text message to your phone, and you have to authenticate that.  It makes it much harder for hackers to just steal your password, as they also have to have your phone.  Keeper will be implementing 2 factor authentication in the next couple of weeks.


username_image2) FORGET ABOUT REMEMBERING PASSWORDS.
The day when you can remember all of your passwords is long gone.  Craig highly suggests using a service like Keeper (naturally) or some of his competitors (LastPass, OnePassword, etc) to store all of your passwords in such a way that you don’t need to remember them. all.  Because let’s face it.  Once you use more than 3 services, you can’t remember them all.  (Of course, you have to remember your service password!)

3) MAKE YOUR PASSWORDS STRONG A strong password is one that is not easily guessed. Craig suggests making your password a random sequence of letters, symbols, punctuation, and numbers.  It should be AT LEAST 12 characters long, and include capital letters and non-capitals.  It should NOT contain any recognizable or “dictionary” words.

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4) DON’T USE THE SAME PASSWORD TWICE.  One of the biggest security flaws out there.  If somebody guesses or steals one of your passwords, you don’t want them to guess or get all of the other ones.   Change them up.  Each one should be different.

5) LIE LIE LIE Not that lying is a good thing, but when you are asked the verification questions, one of the best things to do is lie or answer differently than it asks you.  If it asks you what your mom’s maiden name is, make something up.  Or tell it the answer to your favorite riddle (But remember what that was)  It will make it that much harder for someone trying to crack in to your account to be able to impersonate you.

 

By implementing these simple tips, you’ll be able to keep your passwords very secure.  And even if someone manages to hack your account, you’ll be able to minimize the damage that they can do.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 Adam Gertsacov is the co-founder and co-organizer of Digital Family Summit.  He wears many hats, including those of a professional clown, an author and publisher, an artist/educator, a non-profit administrator, a P.T. Barnum impersonator, a flea circus impresario, and the esteemed hat of the Clown Laureate of Greenbelt, Maryland.  

In his copious freetime, he blogs at http://www.clownlink.com and http://www.dadapalooza.com, as well as a few other places.
You can find out more about his clown work at http://www.acmeclown.com
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