There has been a recent surge in hacker activity; it seems like every week we get news of another security breach into the customer database of big-name companies. On Saturday, the crowd-funding site Kickstarter sent out an email to all registered users, and posted a blog on their website, notifying users of a security breach that occurred Wednesday night. Kickstarter was notified by law enforcement officials that their data had been compromised, and the immediately closed the breach and strengthened their security measures.
They confirmed that “No credit card data of any kind was accessed by hackers. There is no evidence of unauthorized activity of any kind on all but two Kickstarter user accounts.”
However, they are certain that some customers’ data was accessed, including “usernames, email addresses, mail addresses, phone numbers, and encrypted passwords.” While the only passwords that were accessed were encrypted ones, it’s possible that particularly savvy hackers could break through the encryption, especially if the passwords aren’t strong.
So how can you protect yourself against hackers and identity thieves?
There are actually a number of ways to protect yourself from falling victim to online predators! Most importantly, you should always use a strong, unique password for every account that you have. Password security plays a huge role in identity protection online. What makes up a strong password, you ask? We’ll tell you!
- At least 8 characters in length
- Does not contain your username, real name, or any other easily identifiable names
- Does not contain an entire word
- Contains at least one uppercase letter, lowercase letter, number, and symbol. Symbols are any characters on the keyboard that are not letters or numbers (including spaces)
Now that we have your attention about password security, would you like some examples of strong passwords? You got it!
Right now you’re probably thinking, “There’s no way I’ll EVER remember those!” and chances are, you’re probably right—it’s an age-old concern for people when it comes to password security. So what do you do to keep all of your user information secure, but still manage to log into all of your online accounts? Luckily for you, there are a ton of programs out there to help you do just that.
Here’s a list of some top-rated password management programs:
MaskMe – a “freemium” Chrome extension that masks your personal information and allows you to register for different online accounts using alternate information. The free version will mask your email address and passwords, while the paid subscription will also mask your phone number and credit card information, and billing address! If you want to upgrade to the premium version, it’s $5/month, or $45/year (3 months free).
LastPass – price: $12/year for premium (free version available) – download and install browser extension. Multiple devices for free; mobile devices with premium. Enterprise package for company-wide security.
Norton Identity Safe – Free browser extension that includes Safe Search for a more secure browsing experience. Autofills online forms with your login information so that you don’t have to remember it. Synchronizes password information across different computers, browsers, and mobile devices.
Dashlane - $29.99/year after a 30 day free trial. The password manager offers a password vault and generator, security dashboard and breach alert system. It autofills forms and swaps account data with one click. Securely stores payment details and saves itemized receipts and screenshots of all your purchases.
PasswordBox – Free for up to 25 passwords; $11.99/year for a premium account with unlimited passwords. Easily save and store passwords so that you don’t need to remember them. Access the information from your computer or mobile device. Also gives you the option to designate a “digital heir” who will receive access to your accounts if anything happens to you.
By using a program like any of those mentioned above, you can keep all of your personal information safe, without having to rack your brain constantly trying to remember all of your passwords. What’s your password security measure of choice? Let us know on Facebook!