When Hackers Make Headlines: How to Be a Responsible Password Protector
If you’ve turned on the nightly news, picked up a newspaper or logged into your preferred social network at any point in the last week, you’ve likely heard talk about cyber security hackers. Anti-virus software developer Kaspersky Labs, password manager LastPass and an organization you may know, the U.S. government, have all had security breaches by hackers that may (or may not) have compromised personal user data. A key point of debate focused on how these hackers used and compromised users’ passwords and logins.
When cyber attacks occur, journalists and newsmakers publish attention-grabbing headlines. Analysts and experts engage in a flurry of discussion about the attack methods, motives and culprits. Users wonder whether or not they should panic. We are all users of online security programs and we put our faith in advanced technologies, world-renowned computer experts, and programs that aim to keep us safe. The expectation is that these safeguards are fool-proof, and that the companies behind them are rock solid. It’s not just users who expect this – it’s the companies too. We all are working to make online interactions safe and secure. (Well, except for cybercriminals, that is.)
Hackers & Headlines – Who’s to blame?
Conflict between digital companies and hackers is on-going and constantly evolving. We all feel let down when the bad guys win. We might feel especially hurt by these attacks when we exchange money for a service that makes certain promises of safety and security. Companies who offer online account security should take every step and precaution to thwart hacker attacks and inform their users of how to stay safe online.
A very important part of the cyber security issue is the concept of exchange. LastPass offers advanced password security in exchange for a fee. The U.S. government asks for employees’ personal information in exchange for employment. But it’s not just about paying or receiving money – it’s about an exchange of responsibility, including responsible user password practices. When we connect to and participate in sharing information with vast open networks like the Internet and corporate cloud services, we need to do everything we can to protect our personal information. By “doing everything we can,” we mean using top-notch security software programs, and using them responsibly.
Password management is definitely having a moment in the headlines. The safety benefits of password manager programs like LastPass give individuals added layers of protection against cybercriminals. But they also use a key – your master password. And within your account protected by that master password lays your online network of places where you’ve stored personal information… all protected by passwords! Your best step as an invested user in your account security is to ensure that your passwords are strong. If haven’t already, we encourage you to take that step now.
How to immediately safeguard your accounts
You can safeguard your accounts quickly and easily by reviewing your online accounts for strong usernames and passwords and making upgrades appropriately.
If you are currently managing your passwords with a password manager…
- Log in to your account. Ensure that you are using a strong master password, like those provided through our Password Generator tool.
- Review your accounts that the password manager is protecting. They should each be individually protected by a strong password. Change them to new, strong passwords if you haven’t already, with the help of our Password Generator tool.
- Are all your online accounts covered by your password manager’s added layers of protection? Add any outstanding accounts to program, and make sure their individual passwords are strong too.
If you are currently managing your passwords individually with each account…
- Review each and every account’s passwords. They should each be individually protected by a strong password. Change them to new, strong passwords if you haven’t already. We have a freely accessible Username and Password Generator tool that you can use to strengthen your accounts.
- Consider using a password manager. There are free ones available, and they are safe, secure and offer you a safety net to ward off attacks at both a holistic and an individual level.
Here at SpeedyPassword, we are covering the latest news and developments in cyber security and password management so we can all be responsible and empowered online account users.
June 17, 2015 / By: Leah