Practical Tips for Password Protection and Online Security

January 24, 2024
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image shows a computer and phone being secured with chain locks

We are all familiar with the news stories: large-scale security breaches revealing millions of passwords to the public. The question is, how can you shield yourself from becoming the next victim of cybercrime? In this blog post, we compile useful advice from our cybersecurity enthusiasts in the workplace to assist you in protecting your online identity.

After reading the news this morning of the latest massive security breach, we had a lively discussion about the methods many of us use in our day-to-day online activities to safeguard our personal information. The reality is, in the digital age, where our lives are intricately woven into the fabric of the internet, protecting ourselves is not just a choice but a necessity. The anecdotes and insights shared during our office conversation emphasized that security is a shared responsibility, and each one of us plays a crucial role in building a resilient online environment.

Moreover, the conversation delved into the importance of educating ourselves and those around us. Cybersecurity awareness is not only a personal responsibility but also a collective one. Sharing our knowledge with friends, family, and colleagues can create a ripple effect, fostering a community of informed and security-conscious individuals. This collaborative approach is essential in fortifying our collective digital defenses against the ever-growing array of online threats.

With that in mind, I would like to share some of the important security tips from our morning conversation.

Embrace the Power of Password Managers

Do you find yourself using the same password across multiple sites? The best way to break free from this risky habit is by adopting a reliable password manager. One colleague swears by Bitwarden, which not only generates unique, long random passwords but also syncs seamlessly across desktop browsers and mobile devices. The price is extremely reasonable and investing in the premium version is a small price to pay for enhanced security.

The ongoing debate about password complexity includes discussions on whether long and complex passwords are always necessary. Another colleague acknowledges that while some security standards no longer strictly recommend long and complex passwords, this approach works best when additional protective measures like breach notifications, brute force protection, etc., are in place for account security. The behavior of the individual plays a huge role in the protection of their account and the chances of a breach.

Diversify Your Password Portfolio

Do you find yourself saying, “I can’t remember all those complicated passwords”? Well, with a password manager, you don’t have to. A password manager allows you to create intricate and distinct passwords for every account, without the need to remember them. It’s similar to having a team of digital guards safeguarding each of your virtual strongholds.

Another tactic people often overlook is using letters that are specific to non-English alphabets, such as “ÅÄÖ”. While it may not remain effective for long, some specialists assert that many hackers and scripts do not attempt these letters during brute-force attacks.

image shows two knights guarding valuable information
Image by Karthik B K on Unsplash

Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): Your Extra Layer of Defense

A simple but effective way to fortify your digital defenses is by enabling 2FA wherever possible. The inconvenience of a brief extra step during your login is far outweighed by the peace of mind it brings. Think of it as adding a deadbolt to your online front door – an extra layer of security that significantly reduces the risk of unauthorized access.

Of course, there is also an “expert level” authentication you can use for some services: a hardware authentication device like Yubikey, which offers a security key series that delivers FIDO2 and FIDO U2F in a single device. This lets users ‌add a secondary authentication method to online services offered by tier 1 vendor partners, including Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Salesforce.

Email Tricks to Outsmart Spammers

Did you know you can outsmart spammers and track who’s selling your email address? One clever colleague suggests using the “+whatever” trick with your email. For instance, turn john.doe@gmail.com into john.doe+hotels@gmail.com when signing up for a hotel booking site. This not only creates a unique login but also helps you identify who’s responsible for flooding your inbox with unwanted ads. Simply block the alias and successfully outwit the advertisers.

There are also great services like https://simplelogin.io/ or Firefox Relay which is a even better way to protect yourself. These services work by creating a temporary email address that forwards all emails to your real address. This way, you can use a different alias for each website or service you sign up for, making it nearly impossible for advertisers to track your online activity.

image shows man changing his password to something more secure

Stay Informed and Vigilant

Knowledge is power, especially in the digital realm. Stay informed about the latest cybersecurity threats and best practices. Regularly update your passwords, keep an eye on your accounts for any suspicious activity, and educate yourself on emerging threats. Remember, the more aware you are, the better equipped you become to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of online security.

As technology evolves, so do the tactics employed by cybercriminals. By remaining vigilant and adapting our strategies, we can stay one step ahead in this ongoing battle for digital security. Whenever you come across news of a security breach, it should remind you that the digital world is constantly changing and presents many challenges. Talking with others will make it clear that by informing yourself, taking preventative measures, and working together, we can confidently navigate this landscape.

In the constantly changing landscape of cybersecurity, staying one step ahead is crucial. By following these useful suggestions, you can strengthen your online defenses and minimize the chances of being targeted by cyber attacks. Remember, your online security is in your hands – take charge and protect yourself.

At Paligo, our top priority is ensuring the security and safety of our customers and their data. We are committed to transparency and giving you the ability to manage your own data. Brand Compliance B.V. declares that the management system for information security of Paligo A.B. has been assessed and found to be in compliance with the requirements of the standard ISO 27001:2017. For further information on Paligo’s commitment to security, please refer to this webpage.

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