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8 Ways to Secure Your Passwords and Data Online

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

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 February 15, 2019

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

Joe’s Goals

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    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

    Daytum

      Daytum

      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

      Excel or Numbers

        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

        Evernote

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          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

          Access or Bento

            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

            Conclusion

            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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