Tech Tips:
Safety First with Passwords

By Clint Fix

[January 2020 | San Juan Silver Stage | By Clint Fix]

Technology continues racing forward at a blinding pace, creating powerful new tools, on-demand entertainment, the ability to chat face-to-face with someone on the other side of the globe, and a never-ending array of other amazing innovations. Bundled with the benefits is an organizational nightmare: managing and securing a gigantic list of logins and passwords.

Unfortunately, many people simply use a notepad to write down their various logins and passwords, then either carry it around with them in their purse or wallet or stash the list in the drawer next to their computer. Handy, when you want to look one up, but definitely not secure.

Fortunately, there are some great tools to organize and secure your logins and passwords, and even better yet, it’s not hard to do. My goal here is to teach you a few tricks and share a couple tools to help you significantly increase the security of your online accounts.

The first thing you’ll want to do is begin using a password manager. A password manager is an app—an “app,” by the way, is an “application” or software designed to be used with a digital device, usually, but not necessarily a mobile device. A password app securely stores all of your logins and passwords and provides access to them when needed. The manager I recommend is called “Keeper.” It’ll cost you a few bucks a month, but it’s worth it to keep you safe online.

The second thing I recommend doing is turning on two-factor authentication (2FA) on any site or app that offers it as an option. 2FA is an extra layer of protection used to ensure the security of your online accounts beyond just your username and password. Generally, it requires you to receive a text message or email with a security code, which you then type in after entering your password. Enabling this on Facebook, for example, would halt almost all of the account hacking that occurs.

Lastly, when creating new passwords, use passphrases instead. A passphrase is a combination of four or five random words with most requiring at least one capital letter, one numeral, and one special character. Passphrases tend to be more secure because there are far more characters in them, and they are much simpler to remember, reducing the need for you to write them down. An example would be iPhoneCollegeJared@Econ07. You may have guessed it, but this is where I first saw the iPhone, when Jared showed it to me at a college Econ class in 2007. Much more secure than Becky1970!

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, start by implementing one of these tips. Just that one will significantly increase your online security.