Password Protection – Prevent Identity Theft

Starting with Black Friday and throughout December–before and after the religious holidays, there is a flurry of shopping. Sales and sprees both in real life and online can keep our credit cards charging ahead at a dizzying rate. We at HD Tech want to take this opportunity to give a gift of good advice. Go back and make sure the purchases on your credit card statements were really yours and you were not a victim of identity theft without you noticing amid a flurry of purchases.

Unique Passwords Protect You

If you are using the same password for all of your Internet sites, you are risking more than you can imagine. If your

favorite shopping or social media site is the unfortunate victim of a data breach, your favorite pet’s name that you use as your password on all the sites you frequent—including your banking institution—just went up in value. Every site where you have registered that password is now open for identity theft.

If you think those secondary security questions will save you, think again. For instance, one of the most common security questions is your mother’s maiden name. Chances are that a familial link can be identified quite quickly on a social media platform and the maiden name can be filled in to unlock the information—if the original attempt didn’t work. Repeating the same password exposes multiple chinks in your cyber security posture.

3 Tips for Consumer Cyber Safety

  1. Use a phrase of non-related words as your password and incorporate the minimum requirements from the site. Instead of Fluffy*2018 consider something like Dog$0daDesertMidnight. The $ is a special character, the ‘0’ is a numeral, and you have a few capital letters.
  2. Longer passwords are better. An added bonus of a phrase like Dog$0daDesertMidnight is that it has 21 characters instead of the typical 8-12.
  3. Use a password repository that stores passwords encrypted—not the browser’s repository. Your browser likely stores your passwords for you and while it is very convenient, your browser’s company can get hacked for data too. A few services that HD Tech recommends are LastPass and Dashlane. A password repository works on the Internet like a safe or lockbox works to protect your important papers. It allows you to have only one password to secure all your passwords, and keeps all the passwords stored encrypted. In addition, a password repository like LastPass will suggest unique passwords for each site and remember them for you.
  4. Beware Phishing attacks. Be wary of any emails that ask you to click on links especially if you are not 100% sure that the email is legitimate. When in doubt ask the experts if the email is okay.

We hope you avoided identity theft entirely as the holidays wrap up.