Passwords and Security

Reams of information are available concerning cybersecurity. On this page, I’m offering high level tips and pointers to further reading.

Tip 1: Never ever use the same credentials for logons to web sites and applications. True story – I once started receiving several odd phone calls. Sometimes when I answered the call was already dropped. Other times the caller would hang up. These were not robocalls. After several weeks, a voicemail was left reminding the intended recipient of an appointment. After some investigation I found a number and spoke with the person. Their Facebook account, bank accounts, credit cards, were all hacked, and yes, the same username and password were used for all, including their cell carrier account. The hack added a call forwarding number to her phone to be able to get the two-factor authentication codes for many of the accounts. Our guess was the hack wanted to change the call forwarding number and entered mine by mistake. Solution: Use a password manager to create unique credentials and store passwords. Also, make up answers to security questions. Social media accounts, search engines, and public record lookups make it easy to know what city you were born in, your mother’s maiden name, even what your first car was. If you were born in Boston, answer Miami. These answers can be stored in good password managers in the notes or comments sections. Once again, Wired website has a nice review of password managers

Tip 2: Keep your systems updated. Whether using Windows, MAC, Linux, Android, iPhone….doesn’t matter, your system needs to stay updated and patched. Simplifying this for brevity, just google “how to keep xxxx updated.”

Tip 3: Always use an anti-virus program. There are many out there and all of them have their share of lovers and haters. Also, arguments can be made for using an AV program that comes with a computer (who knows best how to protect Windows than Microsoft’s Defender) versus an add-on installation of an AV (nothing like having a second set of eyes). Bottom line, a little homework is due; ask friends and read reviews. I’m not passing the buck here, only recognizing everyone has different needs and price points.

Tip 4: Pop-ups are evil. Block them, never click on one no matter how convincing, never believe them when they attempt to convince you to call a number or the world will come to an end. There are several ways to do so. One that is gathering a lot of followers is Duck-Duck-Go.

As always, suggestions for this page can be made by submitting a comment. Comments do not get published.

Further ReadingDescription
Password Review ArticleA nice review of password managers on Wired’s web site, includes suggested features.
Password SafeAn open-source (free) password manager.
Cyber Security Best PracticesMany links in this CISA (a federal homeland security agency) including safe online shopping, protecting children, anti-virus, and more
Duck-Duck-GoMentioned in Tip 4. DDG has a standalone browser, can be used as a default search engine in other browsers, and secures your browsing.