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It’s Time Step Up Your Game on Password Management

Gone are the days where passwords are used merely for children restricting access to their treehouse clubs.  It is no secret that passwords are now a part of our everyday lives, and the data these cryptic codes protect are most certainly not in the realm of child’s play.  Today, passwords protect our private correspondences, financial data, health records, and host of other private information not meant for public consumption.  Given the significant gateway that our passwords now represent, the time has come for everyone to up their game on password management.

StrongPassword_largeSecurity news specialist Sophos reports that the average person now has nineteen passwords and PINs for which they must keep track.  As a result, it’s no surprise that recent surveys consistently show that thirty-five percent of us have trouble maintaining a mental record of all our secret codes.

The challenge of password management is only compounded by the caveat from cybersecurity experts advising Internet clients to differentiate user IDs and passwords among their online portals.  To further complicate this process, it is also advisable for web users to change their passwords frequently.  The question then arises: How do we strengthen our password management?

  1. Avoid recycling your password. Using the same password across numerous websites is a dangerous game.  While protecting your Netflix account may not be an issue of glaring personal security, protecting your bank account is of the highest concern.  Thus, using the same password across different websites is an invitation for a cyber disaster.  If one site is compromised, hackers can easily gain access to your entire cyber existence through persistent online trial and error.  Thus, by initiating slight changes to passwords according to personal protocols you create, web users can prevent hackers from ransacking all your encrypted login credentials by simply utilizing unique passwords for every online account.
  2. Utilize unique passwords. While “password” may be an easy code to remember it is also easily hacked by cyber criminals.  Yet, phrases like this and even the code “1234” remain among today’s most used passwords.  To the contrary, effective passwords should utilize letters, alphanumeric characters and other specials typescripts, such as punctuations.  In fact, many websites now require these features.  Thus, unique pass phrases can be assigned via personal protocols to correspond with the online portal that is being visited.  For instance, by simply adding a “BA” for Bank of American within a personal passphrase, the code can become more complex and unique to the site being visited.
  3. Consider multi-factor authentication. If multi-factor or two-factor authentication is an option, it should absolutely be utilized. Under most circumstances, logins requiring multiple passcode authentication simply text or email a unique single use code to the user via a secure line.  While this approach is common place for verification of new accounts, it is increasingly being utilized for daily logins.  Higher-end security options, such as a Gemalto key fob will also become more commonplace as hackers become increasingly driven by their criminal activity.
  4. “Memorize” your passwords with LastPass. If all of this information is overwhelming, then LastPass is a great option for password management. LastPass is an online service which locks all of your passwords in one virtual encrypted vault, thus eliminating the need for large scale memorization.  LastPass users must simply commit one robust passphrase to memory.  This service provides a simple solution to password management which will also generate complex passwords for each login on the user’s behalf and even grade one’s password management skills.  For anyone desiring to try this service out, the basic version is also free.

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David Taylor, Principal, Capitol Solutions
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