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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

        Two-factor-authentication-shutterstock

          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

          unique-password

            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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            1 How to Become Goal Oriented and Achieve More in Life 2 6 Ways to Make Progress Every Day (And Realize Your Goals) 3 How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck 4 5 Must Read Self Improvement Books That Will Change Your Life 5 The Psychology of Habit Formation (And How to Hack it)

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            Last Updated on November 9, 2020

            6 Ways to Make Progress Every Day (And Realize Your Goals)

            6 Ways to Make Progress Every Day (And Realize Your Goals)

            Are you at a critical stage in your life, and it seems you are not making headway with your life goals? Does it feel like you are complacent, and you are struggling to accomplish what you set out to do? You can make progress by establishing and diligently working towards those goals that align with your life’s mission.

            A lot of dreams are not terminated because the dreamers gave up; they died due to a long period of inactivity. This is the more reason you need to develop a progress mindset while you pursue those relevant and meaningful goals.

            A progress mindset will enable you to work on any inadequacy that can truncate the realization of your goals. With such a mindset, you are constantly evaluating yourself, improving your skills, and seeking ways to learn and grow through life.

            Why Is It Essential to Develop a Progress Mindset?

            Your mindset encompasses your beliefs—how you perceive your talents, skills, knowledge, and personality. Your belief system eventually influences your viewpoints about goals and success. A fixed mindset can hinder your progress, while a progressive mindset will enable you to achieve sound health, happiness, good relationships, and peace.

            6 Ways to Make Progress and Realize Your Goals

            Here are 6 practical ways that you can make progress and realize all your goals.

            1. Figure Out Your WHYs

            Nothing is static. You are either making progress or retrogressing. You need to establish why you want to move forward.

            • Career: Why do I want to be fulfilled in my career?
            • Marriage: Why do I want a happy home and loving children?
            • Health: Why do I want to be physically and mentally sound?
            • Finance: Why do I want to be out of debt?
            • Academics: Why do I want to ace my grades?
            • Relationship: Why do I want to communicate better?
            • Personal: Why do I want to be a better person?

            For every aspect of your life, establish the reasons for changing levels.

            Someone once said,

            “When your why is strong and convincing, the how will emerge.”

            Establishing your reasons will help you to be an active player in decisions that affect your life. You will also be able to establish if your motivation to progress is intrinsic or extrinsic as you make progress.

            2. Establish Tangible Goals

            Once you have established your reasons, the next step is to establish your life goals. Develop your aims for short-term, mid-term, as well as long-term goals. This process will enable you to track your progress and implement changes that improve your progress.

            Keep Your Goals SMART

            Your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound in order to make progress. For instance, I want to improve my typing speed by 150 wpm within the next three months. I will spend two hours daily practicing on Mavis Beacon. I wrote in detail on how to set SMART goals that you will accomplish.

            You can learn how to write SMART goals in the video below:

            Write Your Goals on Paper

            Sticking your goals on your wall or notepad will offer you a visual cue that can reinforce why, how, and when you want to make progress on your goals.

            Update Your Goals as Required

            Review your goals at intervals to ensure you can still achieve them.

            3. Create Your Game Plan

            It is not enough to know what you want from life; you need to design a roadmap to get to your destination.

            Here’s what you can do:

            Break Your SMART Goals Into Habits

            Begin by highlighting the good habits you need to cultivate and the bad habits you need to eliminate. Here’s how to break bad habits that can truncate your progress.

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            Master One Habit at a Time

            Once you figure out the good habits to have in your life, then ensure you practice them daily. Scientists revealed that you would need 18 to 254 days to develop new habits and that a new habit will only become permanent after 66 days of practicing it.[1]

            Once you have gained mastery over a habit, add more routines that will enable you to make progress in the direction of your goals.

            4. Imbibe Positivity

            A positive outlook means you are always optimistic about yourself, interactions, and events. It also determines your ability to expect favorable outcomes when working towards your life goals.

            Positivity is a mental posture that sees accomplishments and opportunities instead of failures and defeat. It will keep you hopeful when you are facing daunting challenges.

            A study on positive thinking revealed that visualizing positive images can reduce worry and anxiety.[2]

            How do you maintain a positive outlook on life?

            • Look out for the best in every circumstance to be more progress-minded.
            • Use positive affirmations. For instance, when you wake up, say, “I will work hard to complete all my milestones today.”
            • Associate with positive people that will support your progress. You need positive energy to consistently make progress in the direction of your goals.
            • Change your perspectives about failures and setbacks, and see them as significant components of making progress.

            5. Practice Reflection as You Progress

            A lot of things will occur once you are determined to advance. You will learn new lessons and implement changes. You will form new habits and eliminate bad ones.

            It is reasonable to take time out and evaluate what worked and what did not. Ask yourself how you can improve and surmount new obstacles. You can log your answers in a diary or use a virtual journal to track your thoughts[3].

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            Self-reflection guide. Adapted from Gibb's (1988) reflective cycle.

              Scientists have proved the significance of reflective practice on your productivity. A group of students at the Harvard Business School found out that call center agents who reflected for 15 minutes on what they’ve learned outperformed their colleagues by 23%.[4]

              Self-reflection will enable you to keep your goals in mind constantly, which will ultimately help you make progress.

              How do you make this happen?

              Set up a Weekly Appointment With Yourself

              During this period, define your goals and reflect on them. It will also help you verify if your goals are still achievable.

              Ask Reflective Questions

              Did I achieve all I planned? What salient lesson can I pick this week? What new things did I learn, and what actions do I need to make progress?

              6. Celebrate Your Achievements

              It is highly crucial to acknowledge every milestone you complete as you make progress in life. Celebrating your achievements will build your confidence and provide you with motivation to continue.

              One of the best ways to do this is by pampering yourself with rewards when you achieve a goal. These rewards could be things you enjoy, such as a special meal, a music collection, or a mini-vacation.

              These little rewards will continuously remind you of victory anytime you feel like giving up. Merely looking at your mini-vacation pictures will motivate you to keep working towards your next goals.

              Celebrating your achievements will enable you to build on existing momentum and will allow you to attract more successes.[5]

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              Bonus Tips

              Here are other things that you can do to help you make progress toward your goals.

              Invest in Self-Improvement

              Self-development enhances your self-worth and self-confidence. You can improve yourself by listening to podcasts or audiobooks on any subject of interest. You can also attend webinars, seminars, or workshops to enhance your skills and broaden your knowledge.

              Keep Moving

              Every success comes with obstacles. Not giving up on your goals despite setbacks will help you achieve anything you desire. For instance, if you write a book and don’t make a single sale, write another one.

              Don’t allow anything to discourage you from making progress. In case you missed a deadline, train yourself to meet the next one. A positive attitude will enable you to stay on course and infuse you with confidence.

              Final Words

              Goals offer you a sense of purpose and fulfillment when accomplished. When you make progress relentlessly in the direction of your goals, you build up the confidence to overcome obstacles, and every setback becomes a stepping stone to achieve your next target.

              Apply these six practical steps to make progress and achieve every goal you have set.

              More on How to Make Progress Toward Goals

              Featured photo credit: Khiet Tam via unsplash.com

              Reference

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