We all care about being safe on the internet while using our mobile devices and computers.
It’s important to have online access, especially during this pandemic, to get food and supplies, important information, manage appointments, renew prescriptions, access medical records and stay in touch with loved ones.
Increasingly, it’s how many of us shop and bank without leaving our homes. For some of us, it’s a way to stay in the workforce and even participate with new interests or connections.
Like all powerful tools, the Internet and mobile technologies come with some risks. These risks can be managed as long as you follow some basic rules of the road. This article begins a series: Stay Safe Online. There are several important tips for online security that will be published in future issues.
Here is the first very important tip.
Use strong and unique passwords and never share your passwords with anyone, unless you’ve designated someone you trust to manage your accounts. One reason for this precaution is to prevent someone from using your account to impersonate you — perhaps asking your friends and family to “help you out” by wiring “you” money in an “emergency,” which is a common scam.
- Make long passwords- use at least 8 characters. (15 characters are better.)
- Use upper case and lower case letters.
- Use at least one number and one symbol.
- Never re-use your passwords- create a unique password for every login.
- Check all of your existing passwords and change them regularly.
- Use your internet browser to save and remember your passwords for easy login access.
- Don’t post your password list in plain sight. This might seem obvious but studies have found that a lot of people post their password on their monitor with a sticky note. Bad idea. If you must write it down, hide the note somewhere where no one can find it.
The number one reason that accounts and emails are hacked is due to weak passwords and reused passwords.
Take the time to change your passwords now and make them STRONG!
Newest advice from the FBI: Use a passphrase.
The FBI along with other security experts are now recommending a “passphrase” rather than simply a password. Such a phrase should be relatively long – at least 15 characters.ttps://www.connectsafely.org/passwords
For example, a phrase such as “VoicesProtected2020WeAre” uses multiple unrelated words. Obviously don’t use this example but build your own based on this advice. Again, it’s not a bad idea to also include numbers and special characters like $, % or # – many sites require this. Never use the same passphrase on multiple accounts, but you could use the same phrase with a slight modification like adding a word or two to remind you of the site you’re logging into.
Think of something that you can remember but others couldn’t guess. Don’t use famous quotations that might be easy to guess.
Want to learn more? Here is a great online resource: connectsafely.org/passwords