I hope you have come to this article because you are ready to get serious about your online security. If you’re like most people you use the same a password for many sites. You may be learning that it is not a good idea. In this article, I will tell you the four most important things you should do to protect your online identity. I have a friend who makes fun of me for my password security paranoia, but hopefully with the heartbleed Internet flaw that was announced about two weeks ago, more people are understanding how important it is to protect yourself online. These 4 steps are actually pretty easy, and you can take as much time as you need. Take an hour or so away from Facebook, – put on some music and start with your most important sites like banking, credit cards, Facebook, and email. As you visit other sites in the next few days or weeks just change your login information as you go.

1. Get a password manager: LastPass, 1Password, KeyPass, or Dashlane. With a password manager you can have a different, complicated, and long password for each website. I recommend and use LastPass. It has been around for a long time, is reliable, and vetted by security experts like Steve Gibson. LastPass is free for use on computers and only $12 a year for premium features like the ability to work on phones and tablets. Update: LastPass is now free for multiple devices! The premium feature allows for fingerprint security and other advanced features. Very much work $12 a year for your security. I have experimented with Dashlane and liked its user interface, but it was less reliable on Android. Dashlane also free for use on computers and is $30 a year for premium. 1Password is the favorite for Mac computers, and KeyPass is more for the geeky crowd. But check them out and find out what works for you.

Update: After a year’s worth of updates to both LastPass and Dashlane, I am currently using Dashlane on my Android phone. LastPass lost its edge and Dashlane is working better at filling in apps.

LastPass is now free for multiple devices! The premium feature allows for fingerprint security and other advanced features. Very much work $12 a year for your security. I have experimented with Dashlane and liked its user interface, but it was less reliable on Android. Dashlane also free for use on computers and is $30 a year for premium. 1Password is the favorite for Mac computers, and KeyPass is more for the geeky crowd. But check them out and find out what works for you.

I have experimented with Dashlane and liked its user interface, but it was less reliable on Android. Dashlane also free for use on computers and is $30 a year for premium. 1Password is the favorite for Mac computers, and KeyPass is more for the geeky crowd. But check them out and find out what works for you.

Update:

Dashlane also free for use on computers and is $30 a year for premium. 1Password is the favorite for Mac computers, and KeyPass is more for the geeky crowd. But check them out and find out what works for you.

2. Create long complicated passwords: The password should be one that you can’t remember. Make your passwords at least 10 characters long with special characters, CAPS, and numbers. All you need is to remember the password to the password manager program and keep it secure.

3. STOP USING THE SAME PASSWORD on all (or even a couple) of your sites. With the password manager, you don’t need to worry about remembering passwords, so EVERY SITE SHOULD HAVE A DIFFERENT PASSWORD.
If a site like Yahoo gets hacked (and it has) and a bad guy gets that password they will try to log on to other sites like banking sites and Amazon with that email and password. So if your password is the same, then you are screwed.

4. Lie on your security questions: When you first create an account, you are asked to answer some secret security questions. If someone knows you or can read your Facebook page… They can probably answer the questions you answered. What is your maiden name? Where did you go to high school? what was your high school mascot?… all probably on Facebook. So Lie on your security questions. Pick a question and put in the opposite as the answer, type in something totally unrelated, create another random password, or a short phrase. Keep this info in your password manager. LastPass lets you put notes in each password you create or it has a separate secured notes section.

There you go. 4 basic steps to improve your online security and help prevent your accounts from being accessed by a hacker guessing your login and password. But that is the absolute minimum you need to do. Please read my full article about Ultimate Password Tips for more information including a top secret tip I “created” you will find NOWHERE ELSE

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Posted by Ken Barker

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