There are days where I’m just flat out sick of all the freaking technology that surrounds us. Like, WHY OH WHY does everything NEED TO BE CHARGED? It makes me crazy! And now that our kids have tablets and iPods and even these fitness tracker things now, I’m constantly charging something or being asked about charging something.
This is, however, the day and age we are living in. And not only are we constantly charging something, but we are always entering passwords into a website or an app or our phones or computers. It’s non-stop! To save myself a lot of aggravation, I made all my passwords the same. I thought NO ONE WILL GUESS MY SUPER SECRET CLEVER PASSWORD! I know that all the advice for keeping yourself safe online tells me otherwise, but that won’t happen to me.
Here’s how I found out: my Netflix account was hacked. I opened up Netflix one night, and saw that my profiles had been changed and were now someone else’s! It was someone in another country, because they even added their phone number to my account and it was an international number. It was definitely eye-opening and very scary. Unfortunately, I had to completely close out my Netflix account to shut the hacker down.
Have you been breached?
When this happened, I wanted to figure out how someone would have found my password. After stumbling around the internet for a bit, I came across a website called Have I Been Pwned? Um, HOLY CRAP people. Not only was I a victim of multiple breaches, but I was also part of a “paste!” A paste is when breached login credentials (usernames and passwords) are copied and pasted onto a website. So basically, if someone googles your email address, they can find your email and password on a paste site. You can see how this is a major issue if you are always using the same password. Now your information is vulnerable on all of the sites that you use those same credentials on. Not a risk you want to take!
How are you going to REMEMBER all those passwords?
Easy. A basic and simple way write them down (this is a great password book.) Make sure you write them down in pencil! You want to change them often!
I do use that password book and I keep it at home. It doesn’t leave my house. The only downside is that there are passwords I need to access when I’m out, or at work, and so I needed to find a good password manager app to store them all. For that, I use 1Password. I have the free version and it works great for me. A tip though– since 1Password is storing all of your passwords, you actually need a password to open the app. Don’t forget that password! I also use the thumbprint access on my iPhone for 1Password.
1Password is super easy to use, and if you have trouble thinking up your own passwords, it can generate a unique password for you.
Change it up
I change my passwords with the seasons. That works out to every three months or so. Of course, I do get forgetful, so it’s not a perfect science. Many apps require you to change them on their own anyway. Our bank requires it, so I just change it when they ask.
There is really no way to completely safeguard your online information, but these simple tips will make it a tougher nut to crack.