In case you missed it, last week the news was a buzz with how a new bug called Heartbleed has made millions of online accounts vulnerable to being hacked. And in the past 5 days I have been notified by two people that their accounts were hacked this past week. One was Facebook and the other an email account. So, I suggest you take this very seriously. You can read more about the details of the bug here, but more importantly, you need to take action and change your passwords, especially for any online banking and financial accounts, social media accounts and email accounts.
What a pain it is to do, right?
Follow these two steps and you won’t have to worry about getting hacked again.
1. Create complex, long password phrases for all online accounts.
The ideal password is both impossible to be hacked but also impossible for you to forget. The more complex and longer a password is, the harder it will be to hack. Think in terms of creating a pass phrase of non related words, and add capital letters and numbers or characters. It is the length of the password that is more important. Watch this short video (scroll down the page to the first video) for more information on how to create secure password phrases.
2. Use a password manager.
To help keep my accounts secure, I use a password manager that keeps all my passwords in an encrypted file so that I have access to them at all times, without the need to remember them. I personally have used Keepass for the last three years. It is free and there is also an App that I have on my mobile devices, so my passwords are safely stored there as well. There are many choices of password managers, some free and some for a fee. Read this article from PC Magazine to learn about the different choices you have and what will work best for you. Consumer Reports also rated online password managers, but all of those reviewed are not free.
Using technology does have its risks, but with smart planning and by investing time up front, you can secure your online accounts from being compromised in the future. Do it now!