Showing posts with label online safety. Show all posts
Showing posts with label online safety. Show all posts

Thursday, May 5, 2016

How to Store Your Passwords

How do you store your passwords? Let's review three choices to consider as we celebrate World Password Day.
Happy World Password Day! This is a holiday that everyone within the sound of my written voice can celebrate; if you're on a computer, you almost positively have at least one password. Or a hundred of them, and therein lies the problem. How do you store all those passwords? Better yet, how do you remember them? Let's review some of the best ways to store the passwords that you use online.

But first, let's talk a little bit about why there is a World Password Day. Cybercrime is huge in the news these days. Rarely a week goes by that we don't learn of another hack by some group of unknown criminals on the computer records of yet another well-known large company, bank, or perhaps worse, government agency.

It is said that there are two groups of people online, those who've been hacked and those who don't yet know they've been hacked. It's hard to imagine how much personal information, often including account numbers and passwords, is in the hands of criminals who have nothing but bad things in mind. Likely they plan to sell all the compromised information they can get their hands on to the highest bidder with no regard at all to how their illegal deeds might adversely affect the average computer user.

While there's little we as individuals can do to stop this widespread criminal behavior, the best thing we can do to keep our own online information safe is to protect access to it by using good, strong passwords and storing them properly.

Care to guess what the two most-used passwords in the world are? At the top of the list is the numeric sequence 123456 while second is the word "password." If you use either of those on any of your online accounts, I have three words for you: No! No! No! It takes mere seconds to create a strong password, one that even the worst bad guy's password-stealing robot can't easily hack. For some simple tips to follow when creating a password, both do's and don't's, visit the World Password Day website. It's a fun and informative site where you'll probably learn a thing or two.

Once you've created your new long, strong passwords, one for each and every account you use, you'll need to figure out how to safely store them. Here are three choices to consider.

Kaspersky Password Manager is a great way to keep your personal passwords safe!
1. Hire a manager. The easiest way is to store all of your passwords with the help of a password manager such as the highly-recommended Kaspersky Password Manager (available in both a free and a paid version). This program syncs your passwords across devices, which is very handy. It will also help you develop strong passwords that are hard to crack, always a good thing. Learn more then download the free version or buy the paid version (just $14.99, price subject to change) at the link.

2. Write them down. If you're old fashioned, as I tend to be, you might want to keep track of your passwords yourself by writing them down on paper. Or use a simple Rolodex. The one in the picture above is mine. The alphabetical tabs make it easy to file the cards by site name or URL and it doesn't take much room on your desk top. This is a good solution for a home office, but I wouldn't use it in a public work space where anyone who walks by could take a peek or, worse, grab it and take off with it. Also, it isn't easy to pack in my purse when I travel. That's where the next option comes in.

This personal password logbook is a great way to store all the passwords you use online.
3.  Use a password journal. I really like this personal password logbook or journal! It's designed specifically for recording internet addresses and their passwords as well as other useful information about your computer, your software, your ISP, your email addresses, and more. The front label is removable, so the contents are stored discretely. The elastic band helps by keeping the book closed until you want to open it. I really like the cover design, too, which is just one of several available for this line of password journals or logbooks. (You'll see them at the link.) While I keep a short list of passwords with me in my purse, it's barely sufficient and not nearly as efficient as this pretty book which right now costs less than $7 (price subject to change).

A word of caution: House fires happen. I know first hand. So if you depend on a Rolodex, sticky notes, or just a simple notebook for storing passwords, make sure you have a backup somewhere (and not on an external hard drive in your home; they burn, too). The Kaspersky system is probably the best choice for storing passwords or, if you still want to do it yourself, just make sure you've set up a file in the cloud somewhere that you can retrieve from anywhere in case of emergency. The price is very reasonable and very worth it when you consider the time it takes to retrieve and/or change every password you have. Again, I know.

So, how do you store your passwords? Do they need updating? How will you celebrate World Password Day? While it officially falls on the first Thursday of May (May 4, 2017), this information is important every day of the year. I hope you'll use it to keep both your data and your passwords safe!

~ Susan
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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Reviewing the Risks and Rewards of Living on the Web

Review the risks and rewards of your online time before stepping out into the world wide web

The Web is a two edge sword with benefits and risks. As you travel the Internet, review how you act and react on the sites you visit. Here are some things to think about.

We're living in a new world. Tread lightly.

That was how a friend started her Facebook post. An article she read on Time.com put a warning in her head about the dangers of texting while parenting. She wanted her friends and family to know that the relationships we have with our children and grandchildren are at stake!

According to the article, kids don't want to compete with smartphones for attention. Can you blame them?

In the 1960s and 1970s, parents were warned that watching too much TV meant spending less quality time with family. In 2015, it's the smartphone that monopolizes our attention and causes us to get grumpy when the kids interrupt a game of Candy Crush.

The moral to this story... Think before using your smartphone and watch your travels carefully when you step out on the web. It's not just our relationships with our families that are at risk.

Review Your Online Activities


The Reputation Economy is available on Amazon in Kindle, Hardcover, Audible and MP3 CD editions.
Available on Amazon.com
It was ironic that my friend posted this article just as I finished reading The Reputation Economy: How to Optimize Your Digital Footprint in a World Where Your Reputation is Your Most Valuable Asset by Michael Fertik and David C. Thompson.

It's not just our children and grandchildren that react to our online activities. Our banks, employers, travel agents and others watch us as we surf the 'Net. Yes, the Big Brother from George Orwell's classic book, 1984, is alive, well and watching us. And, Big Brother's cousin, Big Data, is keeping score.

In the new and evolving Reputation Economy that is forming on the web, the authors predict that reputation, not money, will be the new power. And, how we act online will affect our online reputation score. It will be this score that will define how people see us and what they will do for us. Or, not do for us.

What is this online reputation score? It's created by a computer algorithm and it takes all of our online activities into account. How can it do this? Big Data is busy collecting everything it can about us as we travel from site to site on the web. Cookies are just one way to collect all kinds of data about us. And, data storage is so cheap that companies can afford to store petabytes of data. A petabyte is 1 million gigabytes!

With so much available cheap storage, Big Data's sibling, Big Analysis, has lots of data to work with and manipulate. Big Data can store everything from our Google searches to online purchases, websites visited and social media posts. And Big Analysis has the computing power to make a quick decision about our characters and habits.

Create an Online Reputation Plan


Think about this for a minute. The combination of data collection, cheap data storage and blazing-fast analytic abilities means that everything we do online can be under scrutiny and recorded. Algorithms have the ability to assign us a reputation score based on the people we meet, the places we go and the things we do.

How much do you know about your fellow Farmville players? You may not think your time spent with gaming friends doesn't matter, but it might. Big Data and Big Analysis may use this information to create a reputation score that affects your ability to rent a car, buy a home or receive valuable coupons.

Now, if you're thinking that you can surf the web anonymously and avoid detection, you may be wrong. According to Fertik and Thompson, "powerful software can often identify you by nothing more than the quirks of your writing style."

What do the author's of The Reputation Economy suggest we do to protect ourselves from Big Data and Big Analysis? Here are their basic tips:
  • Assume everything you do online is being collected, stored and analyzed.
  • Be careful what you say and how you react to false allegations.
  • Create a digital smokescreen to hide any negative information in your search results.

Learn How to Manage Your Online Activities


Why should you care about this online reputation score? Fertik and Thompson believe one of the outcomes of this reputation score is that business will use this score to pinpoint good customers and offer these people special offers. If you aren't lucky enough to have this prized reputation score, you may be passed over for these offers and never know it.

The moral to this story... Keep a clean social media profile, always be on your best behavior online and think before you post.

Find more insights and tips on living on the web while preserving your reputation by reading The Reputation Economy. I found this book fascinating, informative and somewhat scary. The Reputation Economy is a well researched book that looks at the effects online data collection can have on our lives and our abilities to get along in the world. It provides some serious food for thought that every netizen should be thinking about.




Coletta Teske received The Reputation Economy from Blogging for Books in exchange for this honest review.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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