• Denise Konkol

Password Protection and Security

You’ve heard the rules time and again on protecting your password, and your data:

  • Avoid regular, “dictionary” words (most sites requiring a password will not simply accept words alone regardless)

  • Avoid repetition or sequences (12345 is therefore a terrible password)

  • Use longer passwords than short ones

  • Don’t use personal information like your name or birthday

  • Use different passwords for EACH application (which is what leads to the next tip…)

  • Consider using a password manager


Keeping your data secure starts with your password, and there are tools to help you keep them strong.

With 2019 just underway, it’s a good time to review your accounts and consider updating ALL of your passwords. (Yes, all of them.) As the last tip suggested the best way to keep your passwords strong and secure, a password manager will help you refresh your logins and keep track of every account you give it to protect. The best managers will not only automate password capture and replay, but will also capture your credentials during account creation.


Password managers then store your passwords for each account and site you need one, allowing you to change them all with a click. They feature automatic sign-ins to your favorites and overall grant you heightened security for your data. If you are browsing with Firefox, good news is that it comes with a built in password manager.


The overall goal is to replace weak or vulnerable passwords with strong ones, and some come with reports on your current passwords to gauge their strength. Speaking of which, we found a couple of sites that will allow you to determine how long it will take a computer to hack your password:

How Secure is My Password?

And

Microsoft’s Strength Checker


Enter what you use on various sites to determine what if anything you need to change. If you have a password that will take somewhere in the years to crack, you’ve got a winner.


Anyway, we took a gander at what some of the industry sites had to say about the various password managers out there, including Digital Trends, PC Magazine, and A Secure Life, and there were as many as 10 paid and unpaid apps listed, but these three bubbled to the top:


  • Last Pass - free version which imports your saved login credentials from Firefox, Chrome, Edge, Opera and Safari; allows for sharing your information with trusted family members on paid subscription; available in Windows, Mac, Linux and Chrome OS

  • Dash Lane - nearly identical and improving its interface; available on Windows, Mac, iOS and Android); free version allows up to 50 passwords, with paid subscriptions beginning at $4.99/month

  • Keeper - again very similar core features but no option for free service. However, as paramount as security has become, experts say money should not deter you from getting a password manager, and at just $2.50/month billed annually, it’s money well spent.

Feel free to browse on your own for others, but it’s admitted that most password managers have the same core features, and provide a place to put all of your usernames and passwords.


Automation, AI Raises the Risk


As the near future seems to hold an AI explosion, the effects on cybersecurity hold equal amounts of promise and peril. After all the science is there for everyone to use as they wish. And when cyber fraud was invented along with the internet, the initial target was your money and people were obviously on their guard about that (for the most part). However, it’s now all about your data, which is something people willingly give over every time they open a new app or decide to do so using their Facebook profile.


Awareness of this type of theft has been growing a little more slowly, but cybersecurity experts predict that technology involving automation and artificial intelligence (AI) exponentially increases your risk of being a victim. However this same technology will be what the good guys will need to use to protect your data — a tech version of fighting fire with fire.


Among the comments in a Forbes article from top cybersecurity professionals:

“While data has created an explosion of opportunities for the enterprise, the ability to collaborate on sensitive data and take full advance of artificial intelligence opportunities to generate insights is currently inhibited by privacy risks, compliance and regulation controls.”—Nadav Zafrir, CEO,Team8
“IT security in 2019 is no longer going to simply be about protecting sensitive data and keeping hackers out of our systems. In this day and age of big data and artificial intelligence—where cooperation on data can lead to enormous business opportunities and scientific and medical breakthroughs—security is also going have to focus on enabling organizations to leverage, collaborate on and monetize their data without being exposed to privacy breaches, giving up their intellectual property or having their data misused. Cybersecurity alone is not going to be enough to secure our most sensitive data or our privacy. Data must be protected and enforced by technology itself, not just by cyber or regulation. The very technology compromising our privacy must itself be leveraged to bring real privacy to this data-driven age”—Rina Shainski, Co-founder and Chairwoman, Duality Technologies

This all underscores the importance of password management as it will likely respond to these changes more intuitively that the user will, or has time to think about. We expect the world to speed up in its technology in 2019, and it is the people who have the right technology on board who can maintain the upper hand to protect their data...and it all begins with your password.

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