by Rodney W. Harper
Security is one of those things people usually don’t think about until after something has happened. That is, of course, unless you’re paranoid like me. I once was lazy about security but now, I am one of the hardest enforcers of it and people who work with me and know me will back that up.
What do I mean when I say SECURITY?
In this particular context, I am referring to protecting your digital assets and resources. Of course, with this mindset, you can easily become more aware in other forms of “personal” security. However, we are in a digital age, whether you like it or not, and everything has a digital wrapper or portal around that will grant access to your assets and those that want to steal it.
In this article, I want to share a few easy yet sometimes annoying things you can do to secure your digital presence.
I know that passwords are the things that we always forget and never make hard enough as to not to remember. Yet, it’s the easiest method a hacker can use to access your digital resources and usually cause more inconvenience if not real damage.
I preach that you can remember your password, then it’s not a very good or secure one. Use a password that you, yourself, have to go look up when you need to use it. There are many tools, many are FREE, that will store these passwords in an encrypted and secure environment that can be shared between your many devices and computers. All you need to do is a simple online search for PASSWORD MANAGER and you will be presented with a huge variety.
There are too many ways a hacker can crack a weak password after watching a YouTube video and downloading a simple dictionary hacking tool. Do yourself the favor right now and quit being lazy with using your birthday and pets names and start using dictionary proof strings of alphanumeric and symbol character instead. Your joebob27 password is a lot more secure when it looks like this: H$458sms(#jzm277aG
The more variety and randomness in a password increases the security of that password.
Now that I have said a little about passwords, let’s talk about behavior.
Unless you like being hacked and spending your day in a panic and changing your passwords or trying to regain access to your online account, you should always be aware of the danger.
No, this is not me attempting to make you paranoid. Well, maybe a little.
I just want to alert you to the fact that hackers want your information and will take advantage of you when you drop your guard or get lazy with online security.
Here are a few things you should start doing today:
Change Passwords on an irregular basis. Don’t get in the habit of changing passwords on the same day, every month or year, just mix it up and do this in bulk (change them all at the same time). Just do it and make sure you change them from time to time.
Don’t store passwords in plain sight. Yes, remove those sticky notes you may have on your desk with your passwords on them. Security isn’t always online, it can be in your personal spaces as well. Besides, you never know when your cat or dog will decide your sticky notes looks tasty. Use a Password Manager that will provide security and digital backup.
Don’t send passwords in email or online chat – unless you know they are secure or encrypted. Most email systems are not secure and hardly any online chat system is secure. There are exceptions but you need to research this for your particular case. Most Password Managers have secure ways to share login credentials in more secure ways.
Be aware of your surroundings. If you give your credentials to a friend over the phone, don’t do it in the range of interlopers that may be listening.
Stay vigil. Your online security is your responsibility first.