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Staying Safe on the Internet: Why all the Hullabaloo about Passwords?

Staying Safe on the Internet: Why all the Hullabaloo about Passwords?

A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine had his PayPal account hacked. Thankfully, the perpetrators hadn’t gotten to playing around with the cash in the account, thanks to PayPal’s email notification system and the 1-2 business days it takes to transfer cash from the bank.

This is one of the many faces of Internet safety and security that proves once again that cyber security is a big deal. Passwords are an important part of cyber security and usually the first line of defense when it comes to staying safe while roaming the Internet. Most of us continue to fall victim to password-related security incidences, even with the large, scary pop-ups and descriptions on signup forms and login pages warning us of impending doom if we dare use weak or repetitive passwords.

The Stats

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    Poor password habits are actually more common than you think. Over half of internet users use the same password over two or more sites, according to a recent TeleSign survey. Many of these passwords often remain unchanged for years, making it easy for hackers to crack them.

    Additionally, for the 2,000 individuals who participated in this survey, close to half of them had at least one incident involving password theft or an account that was hacked.

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    The 2012 LinkedIn data breach also provided a glimpse into the ugly state of affairs when it came to passwords and information security. Analysts who looked at the data said that they had decrypted about 90% of passwords obtained from the breach in just under 3 days.

    Not surprisingly, the most common password was “123456,” closely followed by “LinkedIn,” and “password.” Identity thieves or hackers don’t need to be IT-savvy individuals to crack such passwords, which unfortunately happens a little too often.

    Practicing Good Password Habits

    Small Password Story

      Password theft can result in a number of unwarranted effects, both personally and financially. So it always pays to be level-headed and aware when coming up with passwords and when you are giving them out on a site.

      There are a number of simple, practical steps you can take to ensure you protect yourself on the Internet. Here are some of the best.

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      1. Come up with a Strong Password

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        This is the oldest rule in the book. A password with a mix of numbers, alphabetical letters, and symbols will go a long way in deterring potential hackers. Also avoid personalized passwords with any of your names because these are the simplest to break.

        If you don’t want to spend time coming up with strong passwords, you can opt to use a random password generator to come up with a good password. Choose one that generates passwords that make sense since these will be easier to remember.

        2. Use Two-factor Authentication

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          Passwords are only one of the main lines of defense when it comes to online safety and security. Even the strongest passwords will benefit greatly from the addition of an extra layer of security.

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          Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) is a technique that combines traditional passwords with an extra layer of security such as your cell phone. When you (or a potential hacker) try to log into an account with 2FA, a text or phone call verification will be required in addition to the correct password.

          Many websites have automatically integrated 2FA into their processes, especially the likes of PayPal that deal with sensitive personal and financial information.

          3. Use Unique Passwords on Different Platforms

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            Many of us find it hard to remember multiple passwords, which makes it tempting to create one password for multiple accounts. Over 73% of Internet users practice this habit that has seen only six unique passwords being used to protect an average of 24 accounts.

            If you have several online accounts and have trouble remembering the passwords to each of them, you can use a password manager to store your passwords. This nifty piece of software will not only store your passwords, but can also be used to log you into your accounts, change or update your passwords.

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            Practice Internet Safety

            Social media and online financial transactions have grown exponentially over the past couple of years. For many of these transactions, a single password is usually the only thing protecting members of the online community from identity and financial theft.

            Practicing good password habits will not only protect you from hackers, but will also save you time that you could have wasted trying to recover lost information or funds.

            Featured photo credit: geralt via pixabay.com

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            Vikas Agrawal

            Vikas is the co-founder of Infobrandz, an Infographic design agency that offers creative visual content solutions to medium to large companies.

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            Last Updated on July 8, 2020

            How to Type Faster: 12 Typing Tips and Techniques

            How to Type Faster: 12 Typing Tips and Techniques

            Do you know that being able to type faster makes you more productive? In fact, it’ll save you 21 days every year just by typing faster!

            Many people look up to master typists and wish that to handle a keyboard like they do. The truth is that none of them started that way, and they had to learn.

            So, how to type faster?

            In this piece, you’ll learn 12 useful fasting typing tips and techniques:

            1. Work on Your Workspace and Typing Area

            A lot of people believe that fast and correct typing will start when you can master the keyboard. But the truth is, you will need to begin with getting a workspace that is clean, properly ventilated, and comfortable. Also, for optimal typing, you will need to get a table and not out your laptop or computer on your lap.

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            If you will be working for an extended period, make sure that you’re comfortable.

            2. Fix Your Posture

            If you want to type well, the correct posture will be seated, straight backed, and with your feet planted a little apart, flat on the ground. You wrists should also be positioned in such a way that your fingers can cover the keyboard. Tilt your head a bit as you can look at the screen properly as well.

            Adjust your office chair so you’ll be able to easily play with the seat and get a proper posture.

            3. Hold Your Posture

            It is also very important that you keep this position as you type. Ensure that your posture is good, and this way, you will be able to avoid getting aches on your wrists. These aches have a way of slowing you down and keeping you out of rhythm.

            Keep your back and shoulders from hunching, and while relaxation should be your key goal as you work on, also be sure to stay upright.

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            4. Familiarize Yourself with the Keyboard

            The keyboard is your tool here, so you will need to get to know it. Fortunately for you, most keyboards that you see will make use of the same layout; the QWERTY layout. It is called that because of the letters that make the top left corner. You’ll also find that a lot of keyboards have keys around these main ones that do several tings.

            Here’s a nice video to help you familiarize yourself with the keyboard:

            So, work on memorizing the positions of the letter keys, as well as some of the most used punctuation marks. You will need to understand where they are without looking at the keyboard. This is the only way you can learn to type fast.

            5. Close Your Eyes and Say the Keys out Loud as You Press Them

            Another great way to get to know the positions of these letters is to look away from them and directly at the screen. Then, pronounce the keys as you press them and see if you’re correct. This step will go a long way in helping you to memorize the keys, and it can easily help you

            6. Start Slowly with Touch-Typing

            Improving your speed as you type is a matter of developing your skill over time. However, the quickest way to master typing will be touch typing. If this is your first time with touch typing, then you might spend a lot of time on this step. However, once you can type without looking at the keys, your speed will increase.

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            Now, this typing method might feel a bit alien, but you’ll improve with time.

            7. Stick with It and Don’t Look at Your Hands

            The whole essence of this step is to keep you from looking at your keyboard as you type, so that your fingers are made to learn how the keys work.

            Again, you might find that your speed reduces when you begin, but just stick to it. Touch typing will help you to reach higher speeds and master it.

            8. Practice, Practice, Practice

            Mastering the touch typing technique will prove to be a bit finicky, but once your posture is up and you get your fingers where they should be, you can only improve by practicing.

            Spare some time on a daily basis to practice and master both accuracy and speed. With continuous practice, you will also notice that you make fewer errors with time.

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            9. Check out Some Online Games

            There are also some websites that can help you with your practicing. They score you and record your words per minute, so you can try improving your record and competing with others as well. Here’re some of the nice sites:

            10. Dictation Practice

            If you don’t know what you can type, another alternative to getting good practice is to listen to something and try to type as you hear the words. There is no limit to the kind of things you can type, and you can even make the practice process more fun. So, get an e-book, an online lecture, or listen to a talk show and type. You could watch a TV show as well.

            11. Monitor Your Progress

            Ensure that you keep track of the progress you make as you go on. But it is important that you don’t get obsessed with how many words you are able to type in a minute. Rather, ensure that you stay comfortable while you type. With time, your words per minute will increase, and you’ll be able to clock up some high numbers.

            12. Get Some Formal Training If You Want

            There are actually a lot of specially designed courses and programs that will boost your typing ability. If you’re willing to improve your skill, get any of these and see how well they work for you:

            Don’t just finish reading this article and expect that you’ll type faster. You do need to work on your skills. It takes time to type fast but, practice makes perfect!

            More Tips to Increase Your Typing Speed

            Featured photo credit: Cytonn Photography via unsplash.com

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