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How to secure your online presence through managing multiple complex passwords and other log-in techniques
Submitted by Ruikufly
Posted Apr 19 2012 04:36 AM
Ever since my Yahoo account was irrecoverably kidnapped back in 2008, I have been interested in ways to keep and improve my online security. Having a secure password is the first step - albeit not the only one - towards setting a more secure online private space.
Today’s online and social media world precipitates the need of having more than the single (up until recently totally sufficient) email account. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogger and what else not require an additional set of accounts and passwords to maintain. Even with the comfort provided by technology such as OpenID and Facebook Connect, fact is, you will not log it to your PayPal via Facebook or to your Facebook via your Yahoo email. One ends up with at least a dozen of separate online accounts.
Here are some tips on how to keep your account passwords strong, different from each other and not having to remember them.
Step 1: Use a password manager
Mac OS and most Linux distributions already feature native password-manager tools such as Keechain. Windows, on the other hand, does not include such a feature.
KeePass is a good example of a non-native free password manager for available for all three operating systems (although, I have only had to use it on Windows).
The program can generate strong 128- or 256-bit unique passwords and keep them safely under a master password (the only one you need to remember) in combination with – if you opt for it – a randomly-generated key-file.
The idea behind a key-file required in order to access your account password data is that even if someone knows your master KeePass password, they cannot access your KeePass password database without having access to the key file. If you opt-in for having a key-file in combination with your master password, you are presented with an opportunity to generate an up to 256-bit key-file which you can store at a safe location.
Step 2: Use augmented log-in security (whenever available)
If you are using Gmail – opt for the 2-step verification log-in where a code sent to your cellphone will be required for devices trying to access your Google account for the first time.
Facebook also offers a similar log-in technique through their Login Approval
Yahoo has a different system through the so called “Sign in Seal”
Hotmail unfortunately does not yet feature any augmented log-in security features.
Step 3: Periodically change passwords
Among other functions, KeePass features the possibility to automatically remind you to change your account passwords at a specific time or a given time period
As a final note: there is no 100% safe way of preventing compromise of your personal online space. However, think of it this way: instead of living with security at 70%-percent, why not augment it up to 95% by simply taking a few easy steps forward?