Sponsor spotlight: Password madness — tips to keep your growing list under control

When it comes to keeping your online accounts safe, strong passwords that nobody can guess are an essential tool. Many struggle, though, with password fatigue because you need to have a password for…well, everything. And then you need to change these passwords every several months.

While most of us understand the need for strong passwords to protect our confidential information, it doesn’t make password madness any easier to handle. Here are some tips to try and make your password process a little bit less stressful.

Treat all credentials equally. While the password for your kid’s school lunch account may not seem that important, it could be tied to your credit card or bank account. Treat all log-in credentials you have with equal care and respect and remember that hackers frequently target seemingly unimportant passwords in order to guess other higher-value passwords.

Avoid oversharing on social media. Avoid sharing financial and personal information on social media since hackers scrape public profiles to find sensitive information. Even harmless information you share (like the fact you got a new bank account) could make it easier for them to access your credentials.

Don’t reuse passwords. It goes without saying that you shouldn’t use the easiest password that comes to mind like your birthday or the word password. On top of that, use a somewhat complicated password that’s unique to each of your accounts.

Set up multi-factor authentication on your accounts. Install multi-factor authentication on as many accounts as possible. This step means you’ll get a text or an email in order to authenticate your identity, which makes it harder for thieves to gain access.

Install a password manager. Consider using a password manager such as LastPass or Dashlane (there are also many more companies that do a nice job in this area) to manage and oversee all your passwords. In addition to securing all your passwords with a single master password, password managers also help create complicated passwords for each of your accounts. The weakness using this tool is that thieves are now targeting password manager systems because they know they can get all of a person’s passwords in one fell swoop.

Think of estate planning. Remember, password management also includes getting access to accounts by someone in your family or an executor of a will should you pass away or become incapacitated. So be sure to include transferring passwords them the need arises.

Use these steps to make your password madness easier to handle and your online accounts safer from online thieves.

— By Nancy J. Ekrem, CPA
Managing Shareholder
DME CPA Group PC
Certified Public Accountants & Business Consultants
nekrem@dmecpa.com

425-640-8660

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