If you’re tired of making the usual New Year’s resolutions to lose weight or save money, we have one you can do from your couch that will still have a positive impact on your life. In 2023, resolve to get a handle on your passwords, whether that’s pledging to create stronger passwords, implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA), or changing compromised credentials. 2022 was another record year for cyberattacks that impacted people’s wallets and peace of mind. Unfortunately, that trend is only expected to increase in the year to come. So, here are a few things you can do right away to limit your exposure to cyberattacks in 2023 and lessen the impact if you do become a victim.
Create strong passwords
The simplest and cheapest way to shore up your cyberdefenses in the coming year is by making sure you don’t have easily guessed passwords and that you use unique passwords for each of your accounts. A strong password is usually 12 characters long, has uppercase and lowercase letters, and also uses numbers and special characters. By creating a strong password, you better protect your account from brute force, man in the middle (MTM), dictionary, and other types of password attacks. It’s also important to avoid anything personal like a name or birthday as part of your passcode. No matter the strength of a single password, it should never be reused for other accounts. Using unique passwords protects your other accounts if one of them is compromised.
The best way to create a strong password for your accounts is with a password manager. A password manager generates strong passwords for you, and stores them in an encrypted vault on any device from anywhere. It can even generate random passwords for you – so you don’t have to come up with them yourself.
Implement multi-factor authentication
Multi-factor authentication (MFA), also known as two-factor authentication (2FA) is one of the strongest security measures you can add to your accounts now and beyond. It provides an extra layer of protection in case someone else knows your password and is trying to gain access remotely. Not all MFA methods are created equal and can come in many forms from biometrics like a thumbprint or face scan to passcodes to physical keys. Some password managers include MFA features and there are also free MFA apps like Google Authenticator and Microsoft Authenticator. Not all accounts will allow MFA, which makes a strong, unique password that much more necessary.
Educate yourself and your family about passwords
The best way to protect your personal information is through education. If you haven’t already , take the time in 2023 to teach yourself and your family about passwords and cyberattack methods, as well as what to do when suspicious links are received.
- Protect yourself from suspicious links in emails, social media posts and text messages by not clicking on them. If the link appears to be to a website you know, navigate to the site yourself and contact customer support. If you receive a suspicious link from someone you know, ask them in a separate message if it is legitimate before following the link.
- Password managers can help you avoid suspicious links by recognizing if a URL is different from what you have stored in your password manager’s vault. If a website appears familiar but was not previously listed in your password manager’s vault or bookmarks, its legitimacy should be questioned before entering your credentials.
Check for compromised passwords and change them immediately
You may have ignored messages in the past saying you have a compromised password that may be available on the dark web. This year, resolve to take those alerts seriously and change a password as soon as you think it’s been compromised. You can check if your password has been compromised through free services online and by enrolling in a monitoring program such as BreachWatch through a reputable password manager.
Migrate passwords to a password manager
Finally, the easiest way to keep your passwords secure in the new year, and beyond, is by using a password manager. Password managers offer encryption, only require one master password to access your credentials and often support multi-factor authentication for extra security. Another benefit of password managers in our connected world is that you can access all of your credentials from any device, anywhere, at any time. This makes it easy for users who travel frequently or work remotely. In addition, you can share passwords securely with others so you don’t have to send sensitive information through email or text messages.
The good news is that importing passwords into a password manager is easy whether you already have them stored or need to create new records. If creating new passwords for all your accounts or migrating them to a password manager sounds intimidating, start with your most sensitive accounts first like financial institutions and medical records, then focus on credentials bad actors are more likely to go after, such as your social media accounts, and finally, search for older accounts you may have forgotten about.
Keeper is a cloud-based password management solution with zero-trust and zero-knowledge security. Using Keeper as a password manager allows you to save more than just your passwords. You can save and secure all your important documents and data in your vault. You’ll never have to worry about not having access to your data. With your one master password, you’ll be able to access everything important to you in just a matter of seconds.
Ready to try out Keeper for yourself? Start your free trial today.