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How to Make a Killer Password That Can’t be Hacked

How to Make a Killer Password That Can’t be Hacked

Twitter was recently hit with a security problem when the website was hacked, leaving a quarter of a million accounts in limbo. Weeks earlier, Zappos suffered the same issue. These are examples of how even the strongest passwords can be at risk. However, being the Internet users we are, we aren’t just going to pack up our digital lives and forgo the Internet altogether.

We must improve our current password practices and ensure that the day-to-day scammers and hackers don’t find the key to our online lives. Today, I present you with the comprehensive guide to everything about passwords. From how to choose a strong password to what to do afterwards.

Password Boot Camp

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    What better way to start a guide to passwords than by helping you create the ultimate password? To start, have your computer near by along with a writing utensil and a notepad- they’ll come in handy during this process, and are all that you’ll need. No need for dictionaries or a second individual—your password doesn’t have to be, and shouldn’t be, complicated and highly complex. Below are a couple of tips on how to get started:

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      1. Make Personal Passwords Non-Personal – One key tip is to ensure that your password is related in some way to you that will be easy for you to remember, while not including easily identifiable information. What does that all mean? Yes, you can work in your favorite color or television show into your password. However, don’t include your address or birthday in there.

      2. No Random Generators – Password generators are always considered recommended for choosing strong passwords, but I always advise staying away from them for two reasons. First, some generators heavily reuse password suggestions. Secondly, they are much harder to remember and will require to resorting to password recovery frequently.

      3. Break the Molds – I advise not making use of real words or phrases in your password. For example, if you are going to include the word “soccer” in your password, use “$0kr” instead. This also means, don’t make use of dictionaries in consulting your next password—that’s just asking for hackers to come to you like fresh bait.

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      4. The NAC Philosophy – The philisophy I just created while making this article is the NAC philisophy. This means ensuring that your password includes “Numbers A Characters” along with text. One common mistake with passwords is only including letters, but also including characters and numbers strengthens your password. Simply changing “LuvToPlaySoccer” into “!Luv2ply$okr!” turns a weak password into a strong one.

      5. Utilize the Strength Test – Finally, making use of a strength test can ensure that your password is top performing. Several online resources, including How Secure Is My Password, allows you to instantly see how strong (or common) your password truly is.

      Divide and Conquer

      It’s important to have a different password for each service that you use. It seems a bit difficult in the beginning, but when you begin to continually use the separate passwords for the separate services, you will find yourself associating one password with the service that matches it.

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        When you use a separate password for each website, make sure that you don’t simply leave out a letter or include an extra number—that’s not considered a true variation, and truthfully, it helps narrow down the hacker’s choices even more. So how do yourself to remember all of these passwords? Making use of applications for your desktop or mobile device is a huge help.

        I highly recommend Passwords Plus or KeePassX. Both services are cross platform, have high encryption protection, as well as support for saving the passwords and codes of various services that you use. LastPass is another well rounded password manager that I recommend for users to make use of.

        Secrets In the Details

        You have a great password, wonderful. Now what happens when you forget your password? No problem, just go to password recovery and answer a few questions and you’re done, correct? Well this “convenience” is more of a convenience for hackers than yourself. Many times, when asked to create a recovery answer to a question, we always pick the easiest ones to answer to quickly get through the process.

        However, if your hacker already has the password to your email and is looking to extend its reach, they will make use of your easy-to-answer recovery questions to increase their control over your personal life. How do you protect yourself from hackers passing the recovery test?

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          Answer questions truthfully but in a way that isn’t technically the norm. In other words, look to your recovery answers as passwords of their own. For example, if your question is “In which city were you born?” and your answer is Los Angeles, consider going a step further and including the state as well (even when asking for just a city), or spell the city in a different way, like *Lo$$ Angele$* instead of Los Angeles.

          A friend I consulted while creating this article mentioned a final tip: create an email address specifically for recovery. It may seem like a hotbed of all of your passwords, in one place, but if you ensure that you use the recovery only when you need it and emptying out your trash each time you make use of the password, an individual who hacks that email will be presented with an empty inbox—forcing them to target their prey elsewhere.

          Special iOS Consideration

          Finally, what’s the deal with iOS passwords? It seems that your FBI, secret spy, creative password production ends at this point. Most iPhone, and mobile users in general, seem to resort to simple passwords for their phones. This is worse than doing so for your social network, for example, because there is a greater likelihood of someone going into your phone than hackers in your website or services.

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            This could be because our idea of hackers is a bit distorted: from the teenager in a dark room trying to crack password codes, to your nosy friend who’s trying to go into your phone to take a peak at your text messages, both individuals are considered hackers. Chances are you’ll encounter the friend situation much more often. Below are a couple of quick tips on creating the ideal mobile password for iPhone users and how to increase your security even further:

            • Avoid Patterns: With only 10 numbers to your disposal for only four spots, it’s important to not have corresponding numbers used in your code. This means that 1234 is out, 0987, is out, and the like.
            • Match Numbers with Letters: You may not have noticed, but the keypad on your iPhone also has letters associated with the numbers, also known as T9. This makes it easier to associate a mini phrase to numbers. For example, RAYS = 7297 or WANT = 9268.
            • Look into Longer Passwords: iOS also allows you to make use of text passwords as well. Going into Settings > General > Passcode Lock > turning off “Simple Passcode” makes this happen. Make sure you abide by the tips mentioned in this article when going by this route.
            • Limit Access from Lock Screen: In the same settings area, you can also change what you allow access to when locked. You can prevent Siri, Passbook, and Reply with Message to be accessible from the lock screen. You can also erase iPhone data after 10 failed passcode attempts from here as well. However, I recommend against using that unless I’m traveling or in a compromising venue (a concert, for example).

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            Published on September 25, 2020

            10 Best VPNs to Browse the Internet More Securely

            10 Best VPNs to Browse the Internet More Securely

            When it comes to digital security, public Wi-Fi networks aren’t safe enough, making it much easier for hackers to access your personal data. Whether you are studying in a library or scrolling through Facebook in a coffeehouse, it is vital to have a VPN installed on your device.

            VPNs work wonders when it comes to securing your internet connection. By creating an encrypted tunnel between a remote server run by the VPN service, they protect your personal data from prying eyes. There is a variety of VPNs available on the web, and we have collated a list of the best VPNs that stand out from the rest.

            How to Choose a VPN

            • Free trial period – Free trials allow you to try the product risk-free. The same idea technically applies to those with 30-day full refunds as well.
            • Speed – You want your VPN to be just as fast as the internet speed at home. Good quality VPNs are ones where you see little difference between those speeds.
            • Device connection – Of course, the more devices that can connect to VPNs, the better. It increases the customers’ coverage and the product’s value. You also want to consider compatibility since fewer VPNs may work for Mac or Windows only.
            • Number of servers – The number of servers determines how much capacity a VPN can handle while you are connected. The more servers there are, the more users it can handle without running into potential disconnections or slow speeds.
            • Kill switch feature – Having this feature means that your IP address isn’t exposed if the VPN disconnects for some reason. A lack of this feature is a big deal since the whole reason why you’re paying for a VPN is to hide your IP address, among other things. (Find out how to avoid getting tracked online here: Big Brother Is Watching You Online: How To Avoid Being Tracked)

            Why You Should Trust Us

            Our hand-picked VPNs are incredibly efficient and offer such distinctive features that grant you safe browsing. They outperform many VPNs in terms of both speed and security. Their primary aim is to provide you the utmost security, thus enabling you to surf the web safely and prevent any potential threat from causing harm.

            Among the best VPNs’ many unique features include split tunneling, strict logging policies, high encryption level, and availability of international servers. We have gathered them in this article to enlighten our readers and offer the best pieces of advice before you get one. Therefore, take our word for it, and if you go for a VPN mentioned below, you’d be fully appeased.

            1. NordVPN

            The most popular VPN on the market these days is NordVPN, and it’s easy to see why. It has widespread coverage, offering a selection of over 5,000 servers spanning across 59 countries.[1] Due to the high number of servers, its speed is similar to your Wi-Fi at home.

            Lifehack’s CEO, Leon, has been using NordVPN for many years and wants to recommend it for its remarkable server count in different locations with no-logs policy. The VPN perfectly works with Netflix and Fire TV stick, too.

            NordVPN is also compatible with Mac, Windows, and Linux. You can download the app onto Chrome, Firefox, Android, and Mac OS. Thanks to its massive coverage, it’s easy to connect multiple devices onto these servers.

            In terms of pricing, while NordVPN doesn’t have a free trial period, they argue that their plans are considerably cheaper than those of their competitors. For example, a one-year plan for ExpressVPN costs $8.32 per month, but NordVPN only charges $6.99 monthly.

            NordVPN has a new protocol called NordLynx that is based on WireGuard with speed benefits, though it’s still under development.[2] If you’re looking for general quality and affordability, this is one of the best VPNs around.

            Buy this VPN.

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            2. ExpressVPN

            ExpressVPN is the second-best option out there for keeping your privacy while browsing the internet. Like many other VPNs here, they will encrypt your IP address, offer vast coverage, and can have multiple devices connected to their servers.

            Compared to NordVPN, while the pricing point is higher, ExpressVPN’s biggest selling point is the number of countries that their connection covers. Depending on where you are in the world, this may be the only option you have. They have fewer servers — 160, to be precise — but they make up for the low server count by covering 94 countries.[3]

            Cost-wise, your best bet is to go with the yearly plan where they charge $8.32 a month. They also have one- and six-month plans.

            Buy this VPN.

            3. Surf Shark

            With regards to Surf Shark, you can connect multiple devices to its servers, and it’s compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac. It is also available on Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, and FireTV.

            Furthermore, Surf Shark can whitelist apps and sites, letting them bypass the VPN. This, along with the lines of split-tunneling, is another feature that many VPNs offer. The difference is that Surf Shark allows you to whitelist specific apps or any website, while most VPNs will whitelist all sites or none at all.

            The other consideration for this app is the price. While lower-tier plans are more expensive compared to others, Surf Shark’s 24-month plan is priced at $2.69 a month, so it’s cheaper than even NordVPN’s equivalent plan!

            Buy this VPN.

            4. CyberGhost

            Another top-reviewed VPN is CyberGhost. They’ve been around for 15 years and have fine-tuned their offers and features to stay competitive. They provide the standard package of browsing the web and logging into accounts safely and give you access to regionally blocked content.

            The network also maintains security from hackers, malware, and phishing. Aside from that, you can connect multiple devices, and it’s compatible with all kinds of platforms.

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            What separates CyberGhost from the others is their extensive coverage. They have multiple servers, and the pricing point is still very low. It covers over 88 countries and has roughly 6200 servers for you to choose from, all while charging $2.75 for their 18-month plan.

            Buy this VPN.

            5. IPVanish

            IPVanish’s prime purpose is to give users online freedom by providing fast speeds and private connections. It’s clear that they can meet that promise as they provide many of the features that have been listed previously from their competitors.

            IPVanish is a part of SugarSync now. What is that, you may ask? It’s a cloud-based service that syncs files across devices and computers for sharing, backup, and many more. What this means is that other devices can access various files and videos so long as they are connected to your specific VPN. Furthermore, it can serve as a backup plan if you get hacked or lose your device for some reason.

            Buy this VPN.

            6. Private Internet Access

            Private Internet Access (PIA) is a remarkably generous company in many ways. Aside from the obvious features, they offer great incentives and discounts for people to try out their products. They claim to be the most trustworthy and reliable VPN around, and we believe that.

            One notable thing is that PIA offers a free two-month trial. Compared to other VPNs to this point, none have provided free trials (though all come with a 30-day money-back guarantee). On top of that, small businesses can avail of their VPN at a discounted rate. There is also the fact that their pricing plans go as low as $2.69 a month for two years, and they let you pay with gift cards.

            In terms of specs, PIA has over 2695 servers that cover 47 countries right now.

            These particular aspects make PIA unique and one of the best VPNs to consider.

            Buy this VPN.

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            7. Hotspot Shield

            Hotspot Shield is all about offering protection while you’re browsing the internet or using streaming services like Netflix. The encryption is military-grade, and its speed is ultra-fast. In truth, it is even marketed as one of the fastest VPNs.

            Hotspot Shield offers a plan that only costs  $7.99 a month; however, it’s one of the few in this list to provide its services for free. Like other Freemium apps, the free version comes with limited features. That said, it gives you a much better feel for the VPN.

            Also, take note that the encryption feature is still there, though the limitations in the free plan include connecting to one location in the US and having limited streaming options and speed.

            Buy this VPN.

            8. TunnelBear

            As unusual as a name choice for an online security protection service can be, TunnelBear is nothing short of incredible. It makes our list of the best VPNs for various reasons.

            The biggest one is that the company goes through a yearly security audit. This is notable because many VPNs don’t bother about independent audits to ensure their systems are secure and safe from any issues. This is critical as VPNs have gotten some bad reputation over the years, as TunnelBear has noted in their post about their security audit.[4] The fact that they are doing this annually ensures that nothing is being compromised.

            Furthermore, TunnelBear offers limited services for free, but even their paid plans are pretty cheap. For individuals, you’re merely paying $3.33 per month. The only catch is that you can connect five devices regardless of which paid plan you pick.

            Buy this VPN.

            9. Norton

            Norton has been on the security scene for some time, and it’s actually one of the founders of the internet security industry. It started with virus and malware protection in 1991 and has since branched off to other sectors as the industry has shifted.

            As you might expect from a company that’s been around for a long time, Norton provides excellent services, and a few of their other services have gone into the VPN package. In reality, Norton is the only one thus far to offer a password manager with their VPN services. They provide 50GB of cloud storage as well.

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            Norton has one of the cheapest VPNs, considering you can get their deluxe plan at $49.99 per year. That comes up to roughly $4.17 a month. It might be slightly higher than other equivalent plans, but you get a lot of extra value that makes it worth the price.

            Buy this VPN.

            10. StrongVPN

            The final VPN we want to cover is StrongVPN. Like many others, it’s great at blocking unnecessary web traffic and providing a fast and simple solution to navigating the internet without any hindrance.

            StrongVPN has over 900 servers. It is available in more than 30 countries and compatible with all devices. Beyond that, the only notable selling point it has compared to others is that it also offers Sugarsync services and 250GB of storage, irrespective of your chosen plan.

            As for the pricing, their year-long plan costs $5.83 a month, while their month-long one is $10.

            Buy this VPN.

            Bottom Line

            Getting online protection is important these days, and companies recognize this.

            With more hacks and breaches occurring every single day, the best VPNs can provide an excellent haven for many people who value their security and privacy.

            We hope that by putting together this list, you’ll be able to find the best VPN that you can trust and enjoy using. As you can see, there are several great options with no real wrong one out there. Pick the VPN that’s best for you.

            Featured photo credit: Petter Lagson via unsplash.com

            Reference

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