It’s a new year, and cybercrime is still one of the scariest things out there. It’s a crime that can be committed from the other side of the globe, and you won’t even realize anything has happened until it’s too late. At Telarray, we take cybersecurity very seriously and work hard to keep all of our accounts safe and secure. Here are three easy tips for taking control of your own digital security.
- Establish multifactor/dual factor/two factor (2FA) authentication.
This is possibly the biggest and best thing you can do to secure yourself and your accounts online. Multifactor authentication is built on the idea of using two or more pieces of information to validate your account – think of it as being something you know and something you have. Your password is something you know already (or your password manager should know for you) and is your first security factor. For something you have, this is where you receive a code or notification on your phone, or you generate a code with your phone demonstrating that you have your device in your possession for your second security factor.
Having this additional security factor is key to locking out criminals because while it can potentially be easy to steal the password you know through breaking into other sites or even just watching over your shoulder as you type, verifying the login with something that you have more closely ties access to your person.
- Use unique passwords for everything.
This is one of the most difficult security practices out there, but it’s so important: every account should have a completely unique password.
Think about how many times in recent years we’ve heard about security breaches at large websites where password information is stolen. Using the same password for your Yahoo email account as you do for your bank account puts you at risk if Yahoo passwords get stolen again. Using completely unique, long passwords for everything protects you from this sort of attack since that Yahoo password now wouldn’t be able to access any other sort of account online.
The thought of having to keep track of these separate passwords might seem daunting and immediately bring the idea to a halt, but there’s an easy way to track all of these passwords that leads me to my third recommendation: password managers.
- Use a password manager.
Now that you’ve added multifactor authentication to everything from your email to your Facebook account and you’ve changed all of your passwords to completely unique passwords, you may be pulling your hair out trying to keep track of it all. Password managers help solve this problem and can bring a few extra helpful features to the table to boot.
I personally and professionally use LastPass as my password manager, though there are several other great choices such as Dashlane, 1Password, and iCloud Keychain that all have very similar features. LastPass automatically saves and stores all of my passwords in a secure, encrypted form and synchronizes them across my computers, tablets, and phones automatically. This means I can log in to my email using LastPass on my laptop, change my password, allow LastPass to save the update, then walk into a conference room and log in to my email right away using LastPass without having to remember my 50-character long login information. Even better, I allow my password manager to automatically generate a unique password for me that is completely random for maximum security. Then there are certain accounts that I have that are shared, such as sharing the bank account login with my partner. Most password managers allow us to share these logins so that when the bank account login is updated, it automatically updates in each of our password vaults.