The rules on what we need to do to be safer online are rapidly changing. Hackers – and the tactics they use to get access to personal information – are evolving quickly and it’s important to be prepared. When it comes to online safety for seniors, the first line of defense is our passwords. While passwords that are easy to remember, like a birthday or a family member’s name, are convenient, they are no longer considered secure. Until recently, we felt comfortable with 8 characters with upper and lower case and maybe a number or a special character like a question mark, especially if these passwords were changed every 90 days.
How to Creating More Secure Passwords
Security experts are now telling us we need to use a different password for every online account we have. The new recommendations also include making passwords at least 14 characters long using all 4 character sets: upper case, lower case, numbers and special characters. Finally, enabling Multi-Factor or 2-Factor Authentication is being offered by financial institutions and businesses to add another layer of security to prove that you are who you say you are. It’s all become so complicated!
Can you imagine keeping unique 14 character passwords for Netflix, Comcast, Walmart, Wells Fargo, Amazon, etc.? This task can sound daunting when you add up the everyday accounts we may use throughout our day. Most couples average over 50 accounts between just the two of them! More examples of password protested accounts extend to personal interests sites and can include concert ticket sites, clubs, golfing, AAA, online tax services, online fly fishing and more.
How to Manage Your Passwords
The fact is, it is reasonably easy for us to organize all of these accounts and follow the new rules by using a Password Management application. Think of a Password Manager as a key lock box that takes a key to get other keys; and, while some are free, the really helpful ones charge a small fee that will sync your password information across your different devices, phones, tablets and computers.
Whether you have trouble remembering to change your passwords, aren’t good at creating unique ones, or simply struggle to keep track of all the passwords, Password Managers are excellent resources to help make us safer out there.
What should you look for in a Password Management application?
- Password generator
- Password strength reports
- 2-factor authentication
- Auto-fill web forms
- Password management for apps
- Password management for off-line passwords (such as ATM passwords)
- Automated password change features
- Password synching across multiple devices
According to CNET, their top choices for users would include Keeper, 1Password, and bitwarden, amongst others.
More online services require unique logins to access them. Meanwhile, hackers continue to become more sophisticated in their efforts. It’s more crucial than ever to protect our information online, but it doesn’t have to be complex or intimidating. With some research on Password Management applications, you can make an informed decision on the best resource for you to use to manage your online accounts and security.