When it comes to protecting your online life, do you really stand a chance against today’s savvy hackers and thieves? You might not think so right about now, with so much of our sensitive information being leaked yet again in a rash of major website hacks. Even hackers themselves seem to be taking pity, offering up a few tips and tricks to making our first line of digital defense at least a tad more challenging for them to crack.
Creatures of Habit
At this point in our online evolution, we should all know that we shouldn’t use the word “password” as our actual password — but we do it anyway. Clearly, we’re creatures of habit (and maybe a little lazy, too).
Hackers love that. Even today, the most-used passwords are often a sequential string of numbers, like “12345,” followed closely by the word “password.” Just when we think we’re being really creative by using our dog’s name, a favorite sports team attached to the word “fan,” or our child’s birthday, hackers are here to remind us that they know those tricks too.
A recent survey even shows most people would rather scrub their toilets or tackle the issue of world peace than deal with creating, remembering, and changing all those online passwords. Clearly, we’re up to our elbows and in over our heads in the whole mess.
Let These Tools Do the Work For You
A free online password management tool will safely store your passwords so you don’t have to rely on either your creativity or memory to protect your accounts. KeePass, LastPass, and 1Password, for example, maintain private information such as usernames, passwords, and account information in one secure place. They are automatically encrypted and protect you from the common hacks like phishing and malware.
When you compare “free” to the cost of identity theft, is there even a question about choosing one of these services?
Another go-to for the password-plagued is RoboForm. ”RoboForm is awesome,” says my tech-savvy friend Scott Blair Burnett, owner of tech fix-it firm ICC Guru. ”It syncs your password with multiple computers, such as my wife’s home computer, my work PC, and my laptop. It also makes our passwords available on the iPad and both of our iPhones. It’s very secure and works on everything: Mac, PC, Android, iOS, and all browsers.”
RoboForm costs about $10 a year. Another good rule of thumb is to use different passwords for different sites and accounts. While scrubbing your toilet might seem easier, the password tools mentioned above handle the chore for you. (The passwords, that is, not the toilets.)