Target, Albertsons, and Home Depot are just a few on the list of major retailers affected by security breach hacks this year. We’ve all heard about celebrities such as Jennifer Lawrence, having their private photos dispersed around the globe due to hackers breaking into secure icloud photo storage.
How do we protect ourselves and what can we do to secure our own information?
Emails hacked here, passwords distributed there. Experts say change your passwords! But guess what? Those so called experts don’t even follow their own advice!
I’ve done my fair share of research and discovered that the best defense is a good offense when it comes to your own personal security.
Stop worrying about changing ALL your passwords (you really only need to change the one that is affected by the breach) and instead create a SECURE password to begin with!
Create a secure password. (yes I know I’ve said that all ready but it’s important enough to repeat)
The components of a secure password are:
- Upper AND lowercase letters (start with a lowercase letter, symbol or number)
- Use numbers but not consecutively ie: 1234 or 3456
- Use special characters such as: !@#$%^&*(+)
- Minimum of 8 characters in length but preferably 10-14
- Do NOT create a dictionary word password or the obvious: p@$$w0rd. This is NOT a good password no matter how clever you think it is, hackers will figure these out.
- Do NOT use any part of your user name as your password. In fact do not use any name at all! Especially your spouse, child or pet.
- Do NOT use anniversaries or birthdates or any year for that matter as part of your password.
- Something that only you would think of. Choose something easy for YOU to remember but no one else can guess.
- Choose a phrase and mix it up:
I like apples = iL!k#@pPl3$ or
I like spicy Mexican food for dinner = iL$M+f4d#r
Do NOT write it down and keep it anywhere obvious such as a post-it note on your monitor or in a notebook in your desk. (I can’t tell you how many desks I’ve worked at that had papers with passwords written down or scribbled into the drawers!)
Never, EVER give your passwords/credit card info/account info over the phone or via email to ANYONE! When in doubt call the company directly if you are ever contacted asking for your personal information. No matter how convincing they sound. Rarely will a company call you or email you asking you for that info directly.
Do NOT use the same password for different accounts.
Do NOT make it impossible for a trusted loved one to take over your account when your pass away. This may seem contradicting to what I’ve been saying, but after working in telecommunications for 10 years, I will say that it was heartbreaking when a spouse or loved one called in and just wanted to take care of a deceased persons account for them but were unable to simply because they didn’t know where they kept anything. Make it easier for them to take care of the bills, whether your hospitalized or deceased by authorizing them on your accounts and letting them know how to access those accounts online. At the very least give it to your lawyer along with your will & testament.
Did you know it’s just as important to have secure email as it is to secure your password? I love gmail because they have a two-factor authentication. No one can sign into my gmail without an additional code that I get through my smart phone. Most accounts are hacked through emails because that is how a password reset is sent. Imagine the possibilities if a hacker can hack into your email! That’s how almost every single account is set up!
So now that you know you need a secure email, why not have SEVERAL emails? Really give those hackers a run for it! For non-business owners you should have one for personal, business, and financial use and create one just for spam accounts like entering giveaways. For business owners you really should create your own domain name emails to help separate and organize your inbox. ie: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]
Here’s **an informative video** that can explain how to set up your emails and forward them to your gmail account.
By now you may be thinking “How am I supposed to keep track of ALL of these passwords?!” What you need is a password management tool such as F-Secure Key. It’s easy to set up and you can use it across multiple devices. I’ve all ready installed it on my iPad, my iPhone and my PC.
I found it easy to install, and simple to use. You will too. But hey you don’t have to take my word for it. Here’s a coupon code for two free months of the Premium version. That way you can sync your passwords between devices and it will do the work for you. Now if only did dishes and laundry….
F-Secure Key is free on one device. The PREMIUM edition syncs all your devices and costs just over $1.50 a month USD. But for you my lovely readers you get two PREMIUM months to check out for FREE!
Go to F-Secure Key download it FIRST from your IOS or Android device.
If using Android: Go to Menu-Help- Enter PREMIUM VOUCHER
If using iOS: Help Menu- Promotional Code
*Once you redeem offer on your mobile device PREMIUM will work on your PC/Mac as well
*Check back next week for your chance to win a 16GB iPad Mini and a 12 month subscription to F-Secure Key!
If you need a more visual/audio reminder of password management, you’re sure to get a kick out of this ‘presidential’ video….
**Thanks to Dan R. Morris of Blogging Concentrated for use of his informative video.
****As you know I am a work at home mom. Occasionally I write posts that are sponsored and I am compensated in payment and/or product for my hard work and research. I provide you with my honest opinion and quality info and my family doesn’t have to live off top ramen and beans. It’s really a win-win situation don’t you agree? ****