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Defrag This

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10 Hacks for Safer Cyber Citizenship - Hack #6

Kevin Conklin| November 30 2017

| security

How you manage your passwords is your first line of defense against hackers. Here are some fast tips to help protect yourself. 

Hack #6: Use a Password Manager

Have you been reading our blog series about hacks for safer cyber citizenship? Have you been using those tips? You should. Cyber crooks are savvy and sneaky, and they’re constantly devising new ways to steal (or get you to divulge) your most important personal data. Or business data. If you’re working just as hard to be a good cyber citizen, you’re helping ensure everyone’s safety.

We’ve noted in previous blogs that passwords are the one thing would-be criminals want most – the keys to your data castle. We’ve explained several things you can do to create passwords that are nearly unbreakable and keep them from falling into the wrong hands.

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But let’s be honest. No matter how motivated you are to remain safe, you’re busy. It’s hard to come up with hack-proof passwords and all-too-tempting not to use them for multiple sites. And no matter how smart you are, you can’t remember dozens of different passwords for every site you need to log into. Particularly if you frequently change your passwords, as you should. So today, we offer another hack we think you’ll especially appreciate.

Of course there’s a software for that! Now we’re talking. These apps operate like a bank vault, storing all your passwords in a single place, securely encrypted, so no one else can gain access to them. But all you need is one master password to easily access them yourself. With a password management tool, you can store passwords you’ve already created or automatically generate new passwords that are both random and strong.

Some password management tools are cloud-based services, others allow you to store passwords on your computer. All of them are very reasonably priced, particularly considering the potential cost of losing your passwords (and then your data or money) to cyber criminals. Look for a tool that will integrate smoothly with all your PCs and web browser(s) as well as your mobile devices.

Here are some examples you can check out:

You don’t have to use your password manager for everything, if you don’t want to. It’s not that hard to memorize the two or three passwords you use most often, no matter how cleverly strange you have made them.

One final note: help your password manager do its job. Don’t reveal your passwords to anyone else. And if you have a touchscreen, use that keypad to enter your passwords rather than the keyboard. This outfoxes any lurking malware designed to track keystrokes or secretly take screen-shots as you work.

Ready to learn more? Watch for our next hack that will help you become a safer cyber citizen.

Topics: security

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THIS POST WAS WRITTEN BY Kevin Conklin

Kevin joined Ipswitch in 2015 and leads the company’s product and content marketing practices. He is widely recognized for his product marketing accomplishments in information technologies. He is a serial startup executive having played instrumental roles in the success of such companies as for Prelert, VKernel, Mazu Networks and Smarts, Inc. and has been instrumental to the success of these IT management technology companies. Kevin is also the co-host of the PICNIC Podcast live show (https://picnic-podcast.com/), sharing experiences and best practices, providing a voice of expertise, and educating IT professionals with the latest technology challenges.

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