Data breaches and hacks occur far too often, with our personal details being constantly compromised. It’s an even bigger problem when the same username and password are used across accounts, making all of them vulnerable. It is surprisingly common, as well as using an insecure password, which is that much easier to crack.
Head to haveibeenpwned.com to see how many data breaches you’ve been a victim of, and by which company. We can’t take it for granted that government agencies, major service providers or private entities are protecting our information on their side or have robust security. Experian and TransUnion are examples of this being beyond our control, which results in increased fraudulent activities.
Once your personal information is dumped on the internet, expect an increase in phishing attempts, calls to verify your information or accounts being opened under your name, to name a few.
Cybersecurity experts have been sharing the same message for more than a decade – never click links from unknown senders. But as of late, this applies to people you know – take the Instagram DM hack for example.
It’s a given that the more complicated your password is, the more difficult it is to crack. Here are some password management services that you can consider for heightened security measures.
LastPass helps you generate passwords securely, autofills them across devices, and stores them in an encrypted vault. There’s been changes with LastPass, as the free version no longer works across all devices. You can still use the free account, but you need to choose either mobile or desktop services. If you choose mobile, it will work across tablets and smartphones but not on a laptop or PC. If you want it to work across all devices, it costs $3 a month, billed at $36 a year. The premium version comes with other benefits, like sharing passwords with trusted family or friends, multifactor authentication, and encrypted storage.
If you’re in the Apple ecosystem, it makes sense to use iCloud Keychain. It is encrypted so not even Apple knows your credentials, and autofills usernames, passwords, credit card info, WiFi passwords, etc on devices you approve. I use it to generate strong passwords, so I never have to remember them. It works seamlessly across devices signed into iCloud, and is extremely useful for setting up new devices. It also has a ‘Security Recommendations’ tab that highlights security risks, such as compromised credentials from data breaches, which also makes it easier to go into and change.
The free version of Keeper lets you generate and store unlimited passwords, autofills on mobile only, unlimited payment info, supports biometrics and lets you access it on one device. But if you choose to go premium with Keeper Unlimited at £29.99 per year, it will provide you with access on unlimited devices (Windows, Android, iOS, Mac, Linux) and 24/7 support, amongst other things. It supports various ways for authentication, like biometrics, third party authenticators or Keeper DNA.
It is important to remember that using these services will not keep you 100% protected, and there’s always a concern of free services not being as safe as paid-for ones. Typically, cloud-based services are regarded as safer because of the enhanced security vs. browser-based ones.
Don’t forget to sort out authentication apps while you’re at it, as it is much safer – especially in South Africa where SIM cards easily get cloned – instead of using SMS for two factor authentication codes.
Stay safe, use different passwords for your various accounts, and never click on links to verify your information.
Technology is an ever increasing part of our lives and let’s be honest, many of us like gadgets. There is also an abundance of new online services and apps taking over the traditional services we use. Nafisa Akabor has been covering everything tech for well over a decade and she’ll be writing on how we can do tech within a budget and reviewing some of the new online services. Cache This is published on the last Tuesday of every month.