The Internet is part of life, which means that most of us are sharing pieces of our lives on social media and other websites. This is what I like to call living publically online, and because we do this more people have more access to things that may have once been considered private. If you run a blog or are active on Facebook your friends may know your family members names, where you live, or have information about your past. While this doesn’t seem like a big deal, it is when it comes to your passwords and security questions.
Passwords are meant to keep your accounts secure, but your password is only as safe as you make it. Because we have to remember our passwords, most of us use things like sports teams or players, family names or pets to create passwords, and people who know you can guess these things. Typically a password should have a capital letter, a number, and a special character in it, but we all know that most of our passwords are simple because we have to remember so many of them. Creating passwords that vary on a theme or change in their capitals or numbers makes it easy to remember them, but also easy to guess, and since we live more publically things that are your favorites may be more obvious than you think.
Security questions seem to be attached to only the most important online accounts, like banks and credit cards. Because of this we think that we must answer security questions honestly, and this honesty can get us into trouble. Answering questions with things like pet or children’s names can be a gateway for hackers because we are so public with our lives online. It is almost too easy to get information online if you wanted it, and this can mean that those answers you think are safe are out there for anyone to find. A way to remedy this is to use answers that do not correlate with the questions, like using a random word or password style answer instead of the honest answer. To make this easier, look into an encrypted password management app that generates passwords for you.
The only way to keep your information safe these days is to use an encryption app or service to keep all your passwords safe. I always recommend 1Password because it’s an app not a service that uses AES256 encryption to keep your information vaulted with a master password. This way all your information is secure and available to only you. This app also has a password generator and allows you to enter special fields, like security questions and answers so you can keep your private information out of your answers to keep you safe. It saves all your information, which allows you to use longer and more complicated passwords without forgetting them later, which will help keep everything secure and harder to hack.
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