How to take control of your passwords

Online Password SecurityI froze this weekend. Not because I was at a ski hill and the temperature was chilly. It was because I was trying to log in to my Netflix account to view a movie and couldn’t remember my password. (Please tell me this has happened to you too!) I tried a few different guesses, until I finally gave up and had to go through the pain and humiliation of clicking the Forgot Your Password? button and resetting it. Wasted time, wasted energy and worst of all my popcorn got cold!

These days, we have so many passwords to remember. We all go online to do our banking, check our social networks and shop. Many of you tell me you’ve resorted to having one password for all your accounts — a definite no-no when it comes to online security and preventing identity theft (more on that later). There is a solution. It’s safe, secure and easy to use. It’s called a password manager.

Here’s how it works:

  • Select the password manager you want to use.
  • Download the password manager system using the browser you use to surf the web.
  • Create a master password, which is the key to the database that holds ALL of you passwords. This is the only password you’ll ever have to remember. EVER.
  • Import all your existing passwords into the password manager. They provide you with easy to follow instructions.
  • Each time you visit a site for which you have to create a password, the password manager will automatically add it to the list in your database.
  • Once you log out of the password manager, all your data is locked up tight, safe and secure. (Not to worry if you forget to log out, most password managers will do this automatically for you if there’s been no activity for a period of time.)
  • You can also sync your passwords across all your devices.

A password manager also has some other cool features. As I mentioned earlier, it’s a no-no to have one or two passwords for all your accounts. The Cyber Bad Guys love to steal passwords on websites that have little security. They then use that same password and user name to try to log into more secure websites … such as your banking website. You should have different passwords for each site that requires login. That’s where password managers can help. They’ll generate strong, random passwords for you with the click of a button.

Another feature is automatic form filling. The days of having to input your data into all the fields in those long online forms are over. Do it once in your password manager and it will instantly populate any form you come across online.

You’re probably asking yourself, which password manager is right for me? Well, there are a bunch, all with features and pricetags that make them unique. If you need help choosing one, setting it up and using it efficiently, I can help. Send me an email and we can start with a free 15 minute call to see if you’d benefit from a Tech Coaching session.

How do you manage your passwords? Do you use a password manager or do you have passwords that you’ve written down somewhere in your office? Share you ideas below in the comments box and join the conversation.

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