How to Protect Your Online Accounts

Today we had the great opportunity to do an interview with Fox 11 about online security.  The Fond du Lac police department recently had their account compromised, and they wanted some ideas for their viewers on how to improve security.

We only had a short time to spotlight two possible solutions so we wanted to expand on that a bit more below.

LastPass logo and slogan

Password Managers

A password manager is a piece of software that can make your life a lot easier.  Instead of having to come up with unique passwords for every site you visit, it can generate them for you.  It also remembers these passwords for you.  Then, when you come to that site and need to enter your password, it dynamically does it for you.  Just like magic.

We use a password manager called 1Password.  It’s is a bit pricey at $50-70 dollars, depending on Mac or Windows, but it is a small price to pay for peace of mind.

Another great option is LastPass.  We actually did a screencast training video a few years ago (it’s starting to show its age) that has over 10,000 views!  It’s a comprehensive look at how to install this app, and provides examples of how to generate passwords and insert your generated passwords.

 

2-step authentication graphic

2-Step Authentication

Two-step authentication is a fairly new concept, but I think it’s possibly the most secure.  In addition to having your password, you need to authenticate your computer (or smartphone) every 30 days.  To do that, it sends you a text message with a code.  This means that the potential hacker needs to know your exact password AND have your cell phone.  If that is the case, a hacked Twitter account is the least of your worries.

What I like about this approach is that you can use the simplest password and get away with it.  Popular providers like Evernote, gMail, and recently Twitter have added this layer of security.

If you have any other questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below. Thanks!