Too many passwords? Get one and be more secure

Mat Payne
Director of Technology

Technology continues to be a top-seller during the holidays and it’s likely that many purchased or received new computers or smart devices this season.

These devices certainly make our lives easier, more productive – and less secure.

Even as I was writing this column, I was reminding someone of the importance of keeping devices secure and taking care of passwords.

I have mentioned many times the importance of using different passwords for your critical services like banks, credit cards, and email.  Your phones and tablets should also have passwords on them that are unique and not easy to guess.  Your phone stores a lot of information about you, and depending on the applications that you use, access to your personal information could be at thieves’ fingertips.  You do not want one compromised password to lead to all of your accounts being accessed.

By now you are probably dismayed that you have to create multiple passwords that are complex and hard to guess, which also makes them hard to remember.  But the worst thing you can do is write them down. So, what to do?

There is a solution that I have found useful.

I use a program called LastPass, which is free for personal use.  LastPass is a secured application that stores username and password information on an encrypted system that 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.  Then you can simply browse to the bank’s secure site and it will automatically fill in the information for you.

LastPass automatically updates my password every 30 days since my bank and LastPass work together. As a result, I do not even know the password to my bank account.

You still 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 that allow 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, and I encourage you to take a look at them to see if they will help you keep your information safe – and free you of the responsibility of remembering too many passwords.

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