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8 Ways to Secure Your Passwords and Data Online

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8 Ways to Secure Your Passwords and Data Online

According to CBS, 1.5 million cyber attacks occur annually with 47% of Americans having their personal information stolen via data breaches. It’s more important than ever before to protect your personal information online. Here are a few tips to help you keep your data and passwords private and protected.

1. Write It Down

Write down your passwords the traditional way on a piece of paper and store it in a safe place. You may not be able to retrieve your passwords if they’re stored solely on your PC or laptop in case of a hard drive failure or theft. Information stored on a device may also be vulnerable if you get hacked.

2. Pick a Strong Password

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According to CNET, a strong password should have at least 16 characters and combine lower and upper case letters, symbols and spaces. Avoid using any repetition, such as 1, 2, 3.

One way of creating a complicated password that’s easy to remember is by using a phrase. For example, “My favorite cousin Jessica was born in 2016” turns into MfcJwbi2 when you take the first letter of each word in order to create your password.

Experts suggest avoiding using any word that can be found in the dictionary as part of your passwords. For example, “flower,” “house” and “palm trees” are all poor choices.

3. Use a Password Generator and Manager

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Password managers like LastPass and RoboForm can be used to automatically fill out your log-in and password information. LastPass also comes with a password generator, which can be used in order to create a secure password instantly.

The drawback of using a password generator is that all of your data will be protected with a single password, which can still be breached. For example, LastPass was breached by hackers in 2015.

4. Never Use the Same Password Twice

According to a study, 31% of hacking victims used the same password on more than one site. Using the same password on numerous sites allows hackers to crack one password and obtain access to your other accounts using the same password. The best solution is to use a unique password on every site and use a password manager in order to keep track of them.

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5. Don’t Change Your Passwords Too Often

According to Wired, changing passwords at set intervals is ineffective and a waste of time. It’s better to create one unique and longer password instead of changing them every few months.

6. Avoid Entering Passwords on Public Networks and Devices

Avoid entering your password at public computers such as cyber cafes and libraries. You’re also more vulnerable when using public wi-fi networks such as Starbucks or McDonald’s where hackers can intercept data.

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7. Enable Stronger Authentication Tools

Some companies are enabling a Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) Biometric identifier, such as fingerprint scanners, in order to access your account. Having numerous check points in place minimizes the risk of a breach.

New Apple iPhones and iPads come equipped with Touch ID, which allows users to unlock their phone and make app purchases via fingerprint. Fingerprints are stored via chip instead of Apple’s cloud, making the data extra secure.

8. Scan Your System for Malware

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It’s not just the hackers you have to worry about. It’s also possible for someone in real life, such as a significant other or spouse, to install a keylogger on your PC or laptop in order to obtain log-in info. This usually occurs when the other party suspects infidelity. Reduce your risk by installling anti-spyware software, such as McAfee, Panda Anti-Virus or AVG, and scan your system at least once every two weeks. You can reduce your risk further by downloading the latest updates for your OS.

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Jacqueline Cao

Entrepreneur

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Last Updated on November 25, 2021

How to Make Private Browsing on Safari Truly Private

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How to Make Private Browsing on Safari Truly Private

There comes a time when we may be searching online and don’t want the browser to remember our footsteps. The reasons don’t always have to be what we obviously think of as the main reason; for example, sometimes, you may not want Safari to remember your passwords or prompt you to enter your password when surfing the web.

Whatever the reason, we may think that we are totally in the clear with Private Browsing on Safari and the other browsers on a Mac. However, a quick Terminal command can bring up every website you’ve visited. How do you do this? Also, how do you clear your tracks for good? We will provide both answers and more today.

    What Does Private Browsing Do?

    When activated, Private Browsing on Safari prevents your browsing history from being kept in the history tab of the application. Along with this, it doesn’t autofill information that you have saved in the browser. In this mode, you essentially become incognito and any references of previous use is essentially hidden when you are in private mode.

    For example: if you are on Facebook or filling out a form and some information or your login is already filled in in the spaces provided, this is called autofill. It’s activated by simply clicking Safari next to the Apple symbol in the menubar and selecting Private Browsing, then clicking “OK” to the prompt.

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    The reasons behind private mode differ for each individual. While we won’t go into all of those reasons, one thing that is  important to remember is that private browsing doesn’t forget the websites you visit. As we will see later on, Macs keep a second copy of the websites you visit in either mode. If you are in frantic mode looking for a solution to this, look no further.

    The Terminal Archive

    While Safari does a good job of keeping your search history out of prying eyes in the history tab, there is a less-than-obvious way to view a full list of visited websites on Mac. This is done in Terminal; the command-line emulator that allows you to make changes to your Mac.

    Terminal is located in the Utilities folder on your Mac. Once activated, simply add the command:

    dscacheutil -cachedump -entries Host

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    Once you hit “enter”, a list of the visited sites appear. Showing only the domains, the sites appear in a format of:

    Key: h_name :(website domain)ipv4 :1

    However, there’s no need to fear—there is a way you can clear this information from Terminal with a command that’s just as simple.

    Clearing Your Tracks

    Just as simply as you were able to enter the command to view the websites, you can clear the cache that Terminal showed you with the comamnd:

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    dscacheutil -flushcache

    As the command denotes, this literally “flushes” the domains from Terminal. This does not prevent the record from continuing to be recorded for future sites, however, so if that’s an issue for you, repeat this process regularly.

    Other Browsers and Private Browsing

    Other browsers have this form of privacy mode for their service. They promise many of the same things as Safari, but they do not have the same Terminal issue due to how this command only presents websites visited on Safari (the browser Macs come shipped with).

    If you use Firefox, you’ll notice that its private mode is also known as Private Browsing. Chrome calls private mode Incognito, while Internet Explorer refers to it as InPrivate Browsing. Opera is the newest to the scene, denoting it as Private Tab. Safari is the oldest well-known browser with this feature.

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    As you can see, despite Private Browsing not being 100% private, Terminal allows for your browser to be. In what ways has Terminal helped your life or allowed you to become more productive? Let us know in the comments below.

    Featured photo credit: Benjamin Dada via unsplash.com

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