By, State Treasurer Kelly Schmidt
There is not a day that goes by that one of my accounts is asking for a new password. Trying to remember what I have used and how to come up with a password that is 15 characters long, contains upper and -lower- case letters, symbols and numbers can be exhausting! But it is extremely important to change your passwords frequently. How do you manage all of these “unique” passwords and protect where you store them? It's imperative to take this seriously! On average, hackers steal 75 records every SECOND!
Do you store them the old fashion way on a piece of paper and keep the piece of paper locked or in a secure location? This way would be the easiest and one of the most secure since someone would have to break into your home and know where this document is stored to hack your accounts. One of the major drawbacks is if you need a password and you are not at home, you would have no way to access it.
There is also the option of a password manager, which helps you create unique passwords and stores them so that you do not have to remember all the passwords for your accounts. A couple of items to review when deciding on a password manager; how many passwords does it store, does it sync across devices, does it add a security process, for example, you must enter a code before your passwords. Some password managers only store up to 50 passwords, and if you think that would plenty think again, on average, we each have 130 passwords associated with one email address!
How do you decide if you need to use a password manager? A password manager is useful for anyone that logs into online accounts regularly. If you have a few of your passwords memorized, your information can still be compromised during a public data breach, and it doesn’t take long for hackers to figure out that you have used the same password for all your accounts.
As important it is to check your credit report, it is just as important to protect your passwords and your personal information so that if an account does get compromised, they can not get all of your information.