Hello my fellow security-minded friends. Last time we covered the benefits of using a VPN to secure yourself on the net. However, even the strongest encryption and most advanced security technologies cannot eliminate the number one reason for security failure in cyberspace. Which one is that you ask? In the IT industry it is said that the weakest point in IT security is not the technology – it is the human factor. In this blogpost I will provide you with several tips on how to stay safe on the Net by using a strong password for each of the accounts that you use.
Passwords are the keys to the doors of your accounts. Now think about all the accounts that you have. How many of them have a unique password? Probably not so many, right? Most people use a single password for all their accounts, which is a huge NO when it comes to security. I know what you are thinking. You use about 5-10 accounts for different things, how are you supposed to remember different passwords for all of them? Personally, I advocate that it is better to have a separate password for each account and spend a little bit of time remembering them, than risking having your accounts hacked with a single password. And let’s face it. If you log in to your accounts on a regular basis it is just a matter of time before you remember which account has which password. In my opinion it is a small price to pay – after all, remember that it is YOUR data that is on the Net and it is YOUR responsibility to keep it safe. However, for those of you who do not want to torture themselves with this security technique there is an easier way.
LastPass – the password tool to keep all of your passwords safe
One tool that is worth mentioning is LastPass. Simply put, LastPass is a browser extension which acts as an online database that keeps all your passwords and logs you into your accounts automatically so you don’t need to remember them. Think of it as a vault for your passwords. Good news is it is not limited as a browser extension, but is also available as an app for Android and IOS. Additionally your LastPass account updates all passwords on all of your devices so you a re always up-to-date and have access to all your accounts.
Here is how it works.
First go to www.lastpass.com, download the extension for your favorite browser and create an account. Once you do that you will be able to enter your passwords for all your accounts. Additionally LastPass offers the option to generate random passwords for your accounts. This is probably one of the features I like the most in LastPass as you don’t even have to remember all the random characters that is your password for an account. A very nice overview of the LastPass features and how it works can be found on their website. The only thing you’ll have to remember now is only one password – the one to your LastPass account. So you you need to create it a good one. Here I will provide some tips on what a good strong password should look like.
Being in the IT industry for several years now I have developed a habbit of creating strong passwords for my access needs, be it server access, e-mail or a Facebook account. One thing that hackers use nowadays is a technique to guess the person’s password called Social Engineering. People now provide extremely large amounts of personal information about themselves via social media. So hackers use that information with specifically written programs to generate enormous quantities of possible passwords to try and guess the one for your account. So one of the misunderstandings people make when told to make passwords personal is that they use personal information as their password – birthdays, names of pets or loved ones, etc. In other words, information that can be guessed by a hacker who has done research on his “victim”. What people should actually do is create a personal password. For example make up a word of their own, one that has no meaning in a dictionary and you don’t use in a normal conversation. Who can guess a word that you made up and only you know, right? 🙂 What I also strongly advise is to create alphanumerical passwords, which means to include letters, numbers and symbols in the password. My recommedation is to replace some of the letters in a word with numbers or symbols. Let me give you a simple example so you know exactly what I mean. Instead of writing “password” you can use “p@55w0rd”. I think you got the idea. Just be creative and create a password with minimum of 8 characters.
I hope you found this information useful for your needs and you will be more concerned with the passwords you use. Do you have other tips for creating strong passwords? Or you have a suggestion on an application similar to LastPass? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
As always stay safe and stay secure!