Black Friday: The Best Ways to Protect Your Online Passwords
Passwords are hard to remember, but you don’t have to do it alone.
You might have heard that Kanye West was at a working launch with the former President and pulled out his phone to show Trump a GIF. The cameras behind him caught his iPhone PIN, “000000” and broadcast it live. Knowing that he has such poor digital security might trigger an attacker go “I bet his bank account password isn’t very good, either”
You’ve heard the advice — likely many times over — that you should create strong, unique passwords for all your online accounts. Yet according to a 2019 Google study, more than 80% of people use a single password across multiple websites, but reusing your passwords puts you at higher risk for falling victim to credential stuffing
Credential stuffing is a type of brute-force hack in which cybercriminals take login information stolen in past data breaches and use it to systematically try to break into other accounts.
So what can you do to protect your passwords? Below are some tips to protect your passwords.
Use multiple emails.
Human nature is to make things easy for ourselves as we like fast and quick. Therefore, most users use the same or similar username/password combination for nearly all access to websites.
A way to protect your accounts is to use multiple email addresses instead of relying on the same email for every single login. But you don’t have to set up multiple email accounts to do this.
Gmail and Microsoft Office 365 let you use “plus” email addresses for this purpose. So Maria Fernandez can sign up for Amazon with “[email protected]” and sign up for Facebook with “[email protected]”, but messages sent to each address will land in the inbox of [email protected]
Make your passwords stronger
While you’re creating unique credentials for each account, make sure your passwords are long and complex, which makes them more difficult to guess. Anything that is obvious to you is also obvious to everyone else, so you have to dig deeper to come up with something uncommon.
Most importantly, NEVER use the same password twice. If you re-use the same password everywhere, your accounts will fall like dominoes if even one of them is breached.
Here are a few ways to make your passwords more secure:
- Make each password at least 15 characters long.
- Use lower-case and upper-case letters as well as digits and punctuation marks.
- Be careful not to use any information about you that can be found on social media—don’t use your birthday or pets’ names in your passwords if you talk about your pets on Facebook or other social media channels.
Use a password manager
If you’re relying on your own memory to keep track of many long and complex logins, of course you’re more likely to default to a few short and simple passwords. Fortunately, there’s a solution.
Password managers are applications that save all your passwords in one place. You have to remember only one master password that logs you in to the password manager, so you don’t have to keep remembering every password you’ve ever had as it protects every other password you have. `
Use a Password Management Application
If you rely on your own memory to memorize a lot of passwords you’re more likely to lean toward a few short, simple passwords. Fortunately, there is a solution.
Password management is more secure than having my browser remember passwords. For example, on a Mac where Chrome uses my Apple keychain, a hacker could access all my information once they have your Gmail password.
If you tend to reuse the same passwords for many logins, especially when it comes to banking and money-related accounts, a password manager app could save you from being scammed as hackers tend to try the same password in different places.
LastPass is my lifesaver. I have so many logins and passwords that I’ve accumulated over my years in business that it’s impossible to keep track of them. For more information related to protect your password and obtain a 25% discount.
How to Avoid Scholarship Scams
It’s no secret that scholarships are a great way to find free money for college. While it’s now easier than ever to search for scholarship opportunities online, easier navigation on the internet also makes it easier for online scammers.
Unfortunately, many families have fallen victim to scholarship scammers who are stealing millions of dollars from families every year. Your goal is to get money for college, and it shouldn’t cost you anything to apply for scholarships.
The good news is that there are red flags to look out for to avoid becoming the victim of a scholarship scam. A general rule of thumb – if it sounds too good to be true, it is. Learn the signs to protect yourself against being defrauded and find scholarships that are right for you. Here are 3 tips to avoid scholarship scams:
- Be cautious of fees: Applying for scholarships should not cost money. Be cautions of scholarships with application fees and never pay to get scholarship information. Scholarship databases are free and readily available online. Be on the lookout for phrases like “Guaranteed or your money back.” Scholarship websites can’t guarantee that you will win a scholarship because they’re not deciding on the winner. Legitimate scholarships won’t require an upfront fee when you submit the application.
- Protect your data: Never reveal financial information such as your social security number, credit card numbers, checking information or bank account numbers to apply for scholarships. Scholarship scammers could use this information to commit identity theft.
- Get a second opinion: If you’re still unsure, talk with trusted organizations about which websites they recommend. School counselors, librarians, financial aid offices, and local community organizations have knowledge and tools to guide you in the right direction.
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In addition to providing scholarships, IO Scholarships website offers a free scholarship organizer, news articles designed to provide guidance on how to apply for scholarships, and money saving tips. The platform also offers a Career Aptitude Quiz designed to help students identify the degrees and professions that best fit their skills.
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