by Joel Saltzman
I don't know about you but I am fed up with having to change my passwords every other month. No matter how careful one is, your bank, hotels, credit bureaus, or places you do business with get hacked, you're involved. Citi Bank, Target, Experian, Yahoo, Marriott, Adult Friend Finder, e-Bay, Equifax, Heartland Stores, TJ Maxx/Marshals, Uber, JP Morgan Chase, US Office of Personnel Management, Home Depot, Anthem, Verisign, etc... You get the idea.
I've come to the conclusion that in this day and age, there are too many passwords to control manually. I highly recommend a good Password Protection program. Contrary to myths, this is the safest and easiest way to remember and control your password. Simply remember one master password to get in to access the rest. Most of these programs go far beyond just management. They also alert you if your e-mail info is found on the "Dark Web". They notify you of data breaches which is critical.
Has anyone else received those e-mails showing one of your previous passwords and indicating that, although its nothing personal, you've been hacked. They usually mention that they inserted malware that enabled them to capture you watching porn, etc. If you don't immediately send them Bitcoin, they threaten to send everything to your contact list. These are phishing e-mails as they are hoping that someone is stupid enough to buy this and sends them $.
Rule number one is if you get one of these and the password shown has not been updated, do it immediately. Do not respond to the e-mail or contact the FBI. There are millions of these going around. I get one once a month. I have been using several different password managers as I was given Identity Guard by Experian after they were hacked. Dashlane seems to be a pretty good solution too. As I have been personally hacked and am in the Cyber Security industry, I know a few tricks to minimize, cracks, hacks, tracks and data breaches. Here is what I learned and highly recommend.
1) Always use 2-Factor Authentication when possible. What this does is protect you from someone changing your passwords, even if they stumbled across the correct one. I use this for Google, Facebook and others. They will send my cellphone a message asking if it's really me that is trying to make the password change which is awesome.
2) Use a password manager. Let it randomly generate passwords instead of using places, pets names, etc... The free versions of these are ok but usually confined to one device. To get cloud capability to sync with multiple devices, you need their premium versions.
3) Never click on links that are not familiar, even if they appear to be coming from friends. Often times, these are easy to spot because they started in countries that English is not the first language so the grammar is often wrong. I got one yesterday on Facebook Messenger which looked like it came from one of my buddies. It said "Is this you Video" and was obviously a malware link they wanted me to click on. Facebook Messenger seems to be one of the most popular ways Malware gets spread. I will not open anything on Messenger so don't even waste time sending me photos or videos.
4) Try to avoid cutting and pasting anything that was sent to you and requested to be forwarded, especially in social media. It is too easy to hide malicious code in these and inadvertently allow access to your computer to the "bad hombres". Recently, some very famous people bought into the recent bogus Facebook/Instagram warning and cut and pasted information thinking that this was legit.
5) Stop using chrome, unless you like getting solicited for everything you click on. I now use three different browsers and dumped Chrome. Safari, Bravo and Firefox are far more secure than Chrome. Use one browser for the accounts that are important that you regularly log in to that are important, Banks, Merchants, etc... Use another browser for social media accounts that you log into regularly. Finally, use a third "beater" browser for web browsing other websites that may not be as secure as you would like. This way, it is extremely hard to track your purchasing habits.
6) Regularly check your bank accounts for new charges. It's not as common as previously but it's a good idea to check your cellular bills and bank bills for suspicious charges. Usually they are $9.99 or $19.99 per month for a "new subscription service that you never heard off, let alone ordered. Buy utilizing a small amount, they hope it will go unnoticed.
7) Use facial recognition technology if you have it and anything else to secure your portable devices. After all, it's these, not a desktop home computer that are more likely to get lost or stolen out of your vehicle. It is also critical the the GPS "Find My Phone" feature is enabled, just in case. Hope this helps!
Joel Saltzman has over twenty years of wireless industry experience. He is currently CEO and Chief Wireless Analyst for Dr Wireless.