I’m sure that during the holiday season some of you purchased or received new computers or smart devices. These devices will inevitably make our lives easier, more productive, and less secure. The importance of using and securing passwords cannot be overstated.
I have mentioned many times before that you will want to use different passwords for your critical services like banks, credit cards, and your email. You do not want one compromised password to lead to all of your accounts being accessed. Think about all the personal information stored on your phone that could be at thieves’ fingertips. Your phones and tablets should also have passwords on them that are unique and not easy to guess. Furthermore, they should never be written down where they could be found – and definitely not on a Post-it note on your desktop or device’s screen, which is a common practice.
By now, I’m sure you are thinking that I have asked you to create six different passwords that are complex and hard to guess, which makes them hard to remember.
I use a program that does the thinking for me. LastPass, which is free for personal use, is a secured application that stores username and password information on an encrypted system. This is accessible via mobile apps and browser add-ons.
Your LastPass database is secured with a password of your choosing. This password should be your most secure password, favoring length and complexity over anything. Go nuts with this one since it should be the only password theoretically you have to remember.
Once logged in it has the utilities to generate secure passwords and save them in its database. I do not even know the password to my bank account. It automatically updates my password every 30 days since my bank and LastPass work together. Once stored you can simply browse to the bank’s secure site and it will automatically fill in the information for you.
You will have to put in your master password first though. On my own LastPass account, I’ve enabled two-factor authentication so that I have to put in my password and a random number that is available on my phone. LastPass also has a feature called secure notes, which allows you to record information that is also hidden behind your master password.
There are other password managers on the market that will accomplish the same goal. I encourage you to take a look at them and see if they will help you keep your information safe. In any event, the Post-it note with your passwords listed that you have on your monitor has to go!