Last year I mentioned that I was going to make regular posts that cover something related to tech like an app, a great blog, and a book I find particularly enjoyable.
This post is January’s tech tip. I’ve got an app that every one of you needs to be using if you aren’t already as well as a few tips to keep you and all your information safe in the increasingly hackable digital world we live in.
With Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Tumbler, SnapChat, Pinterest, Google Plus, and the million other social networks and websites that people willingly give their personal data to it’s more important than ever that you take necessary precautions to protect it from prying eyes.
There is no way to be completely, 100% safe from evildoers. If you’re on the internet you’re at risk, that’s just part of life. Even Obama’s new healthcare website has gaping security flaws that could expose it’s users to all sorts of unwanted consequences just by using it.
As a side note, articles like the one I linked to above are all over the internet by just about every major source except CNN…I’ll let you draw the conclusions about that.
Anyway, what’s one of the most effective and easiest ways to protect yourself that’s constantly ignored by society? Picking a strong password! PC world has a great article rounding up the 25 worst passwords of 2013 and for the first time in a long time “Password” has been dethroned as the most popular password by “123456.”
This is so basic and yet still one of the most common mistakes. You may wonder how they gather and rank passwords? It’s because they’re often leaked by hackers who stole them directly from a server somewhere. It happens all the time.
You may not have “Password” as your password but do you use the same one on multiple sites? Odds are good that you do. What happens if your password gets stolen or leaked? Nothing good, I assure you.
I have accounts all over the internet and not a single one of them has the same password. Each one is at least 25 characters long and they all use random numbers, letters, and symbols. There are no words, phrases, rhyme, or reason at all and this is what you all should be doing if you want to be as safe as possible. I’m actually going through and replacing them all with 63 character long random strings that are uniquely generated every time I visit this online password generator.
The trick to a system like mine is remembering the passwords. If you’re doing it right though, you won’t be able to remember any of them. So how does someone with this system use the internet without a sticky note on their screen with all their login info on it (which is also a horrible idea)?
I use a beautiful little program called Last Pass. It has extensions for every web browser for Windows and Mac that will store all of your login info in the cloud and type it all in for you.
You can create an account for free, install the plugin you need, and go strait to work! The only thing you need to do is choose a super secure master password for Last Pass. This is what you’ll use to unlock it and put it to work. It’s the only password you’ll need to remember, hence the name Last Pass. Creative eh?
Once it’s unlocked every time you visit a site where your info is saved it will fill it in for you and, like magic, you’re in!
Last Pass encrypts your data then uploads it to their servers which means that when the NSA comes knocking, wanting to collect all of your info, the Last Pass team can hand it over but the spooks can’t read a bit of it because it’s encrypted. Last Pass is the absolute safest bet and best way to managed your passwords and personal info. You can even save your credit card info and fill out web forms with a single click!
You can get Last Pass for free on your computer but there is a small fee to get the mobile version which isn’t great but does the job. I highly recommend you try it out and start protecting your digital information before it’s too late!
I’m fully confident my mom can use this without any trouble and if she can then any of you can. I spent thirty minutes a few years ago just trying to explain what copy and paste was to her just so you all have a point of reference.
Trust me everyone, if you’re not doing this yet you’ll wish you were when you get hacked. Take the few easy steps to protect yourself now and don’t regret it later!
Thank you all for reading, sharing, and commenting on these posts!