Cybersecurity: Are your passwords safe?

February 15, 2018

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How many passwords do you have?

Personal email? Work email? Amazon? Facebook? Twitter?

Every website wants you to set up another account with yet another username and password. You also have other sensitive information that you must remember and keep secure, such as your social security number, passport number, voter card, credit card numbers, combination locks, prescriptions, serial numbers, and more. The list seems to grow by the day, demanding more and more of your memory.

This can easily become overwhelming, which is why many people us risky methods to keep up with all the passwords. Some people write their passwords on a sticky note or in a notebook, while some just use the same password for every service. This is a recipe for identity theft, loss of your very sensitive personal information, and/or other significant personal impact.

There are frequently news stories about the hacking of commonly-used websites such as Yahoo, LinkedIn, Home Depot, Zappos, Uber and many others. When hackers compromise these companies and services, they typically steal usernames and passwords.

If you use the same password for every account, these high-profile hacks mean that bad actors are suddenly able to access and steal from all of your accounts. For safety, it’s a good idea to create individual passwords for every account. If you find you need a convenient and secure way of keeping up with this ever-growing list of passwords, I recommend using a password manager.

A password manager keeps your passwords secure by storing them in an app that is protected by military-grade encryption. Password managers come in several varieties. One option is to purchase a password manager application to install on your device (your smartphone and/or PC). With a one-time purchase, you own the password manager. Another option is to pay a monthly or annual subscription fee that provides an application that you install or access through a secure website.

Whichever option you choose, a password manager will keep your information secure, give you piece of mind, and make your life a lot easier too. Here are three password manager products I recommend:

  • LastPass, www.lastpass.com, is one of the most popular and most recommended by trade journals. Price: Free for basic service, $12 subscription fee per year for premium.
  • 1Password, 1password.com, has been the leading password manager for Apple products for a few years, and it now works well on PC and android. Price: $3 per month subscription fee on unlimited devices, $5 per month subscription fee for a family plan.
  • eWallet, www.iliumsoft.com/ewallet is my recommendation for a one-time purchase for individual devices. Price: $9.99 one time purchase for your smartphone app, small additional fee to add it to other devices. 

Mark Johnson

President of Xtrii, and Global Technology Advisor

Mark Johnson is a global technology advisor with more than 30 years of successful business results. His experience includes roles as a global Chief Information Officer, Chief Technology Officer, and innovative, business leader for organizations ranging from $15 Billion+ and 100,000+ employees, to small, fast-paced, rapid-growth companies. Mark currently serves as President of Xtrii (www.Xtrii.com), an executive-level, technology consulting firm that works with C-level executives to provide proven technology leaders that help them address their most pressing technology challenges and risks. He has worked with companies to achieve extraordinary success that is globally recognized for technology excellence, such as the 4-time repeat winner of the national award for the best Information Technology organization, the national “Innovator of the Year” award, and Microsoft’s “Global Technology Innovation” award. Mark has been featured in Bloomberg Business Week, Computerworld Magazine, CIO Magazine, and many other national publications. He is a frequent keynote speaker and technology advisor on how companies can best leverage technology for optimal business outcomes.
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