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Use Unique Passwords For Each Site
This may seem overwhelming, but with the use of a proper password manager, it can be done. Let’s say you don’t feel you can handle that many passwords though. You should, at minimum, have a unique password for your email and bank account logins. Here is why: The Holy Grail of account access for a person with ill intent is your email account. If you think about it, it makes sense, everything else connects to that. How does any other account do a password reset? It emails you a link. If someone gains access to your email account, they effectively gain access to everything. As for your bank account, there is so much that you can do with online banking now-a-days that access to your bank account is essentially direct access to your money.
But how does having a unique password help? When a hacker gains access to one account, the first thing they often do is check to see if that username and password work on anything else. It’s like finding a key and then checking every door to see if it will open, with a focus on the doors that guard the most important stuff.
Create Secure Passwords
There are many options for generating secure, memorable passwords. First, be sure to avoid including any personal information as part of your password. Don’t use the name, birth date, initials, or anniversaries of yourself, your family, or your pets. Don’t use common passwords like 123456 or password. You can find a list of the top 500 passwords here. Don’t use any of those.
One method for generating a secure password is stringing together four unrelated words. A primary example is XKCDs popular “correct horse battery staple“. Just don’t utilize words that might be obvious, like “MikeJohnAnneSuzy” if those are the names of your children. Another method would be to utilize first letters of a long phrase or scripture. For example, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” turns into “ItbGcth&te”, which might be a good password if I hadn’t just provided it as an example here. Need a number for the password requirement? Change it to “1tbGcth&te”.
There are many other methods for generating a secure, memorable password. You can find several more examples here.
Learn more at the NCSAM website
Use a strong, unique password for every website. It is recommended that you install and use a password manager.
Having separate passwords for every account helps to thwart cyber criminals. At a minimum, separate your work and personal accounts.
Set your smartphone to lock after a short idle time, and set it to require authentication for unlocking. If at all possible, use something stronger than a four-digit PIN.
Never click links in emails or texts that seem to come from your bank, the IRS, or any other institution. If you think the message might be valid, log into your account directly, without using the supplied link.
Learn more at the NCSAM website.
More tips to come next week… in National Cyber Security Awareness Month – Part 2
Learning a lot from talented educators in my webinar addressing the learning potential of simulations in blended learning for the Blended Learning Professional Group at James Cook University, Queensland. Just admiring the technology of clearly hearing each other with no delay from over 8548 miles between us. If you would like to have a customized version of this presentation delivered to your group, please contact me.
Get ready for super-fun Amazon Prime Day! Prime Day is the biggest online shopping day of the summer! Last year, according to Market Track and Qualtrics, about 30% of US internet users participating in the Amazon Prime Day sale. The web site eMarketer expects this year’s Prime Day to surpass out last year because of the surge of Amazon Prime memberships, which grew from 50.8 million in 2015 to 67.7 million so far this year. Amazon Prime customers, are nearly half of its U.S. customer base. Prime customers spend, on average $1,200 on Amazon compared to non-Prime customers who spend approxiamately $700.