Category Archives: password

Data Security Solutions for Small Businesses

Businesses that fail to take the steps necessary to protect their data, information and digital infrastructure are far more likely to suffer a data breach. A breach has the potential to do lasting harm and may even place the very survival of a business at risk. Organizations would do well to seek out any resources […]… Read More

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Sextortion Scam Luring Victims in with Breached Passwords – Don’t Pay!

If you haven’t been targeted already, you might have at least heard about the latest “sextortion scam” that surfaced a couple weeks ago. I’ve been seeing the email scam making its rounds since then, and sure enough, it’s now hit my own inbox. Seeing this nefarious message firsthand, I wanted to share some things to […]… Read More

The post Sextortion Scam Luring Victims in with Breached Passwords – Don’t Pay! appeared first on The State of Security.

Major sites still largely lax on prompting users towards safer password choices, study finds

A study assessed whether or not the most popular English-language websites help users strengthen their security by providing them with guidance on creating safer passwords during account sign-up or password-change processes

The post Major sites still largely lax on prompting users towards safer password choices, study finds appeared first on WeLiveSecurity

WeLiveSecurity: Major sites still largely lax on prompting users towards safer password choices, study finds

A study assessed whether or not the most popular English-language websites help users strengthen their security by providing them with guidance on creating safer passwords during account sign-up or password-change processes

The post Major sites still largely lax on prompting users towards safer password choices, study finds appeared first on WeLiveSecurity



WeLiveSecurity

Porn Extortion Email tied to Password Breach

(An update to this post has been made at the end)

This weekend I received an email forwarded from a stranger.  They had received a threatening email and had shared it with a former student of mine to ask advice.  Fortunately, the correct advice in this case was "Ignore it."  But they still shared it with me in case we could use it to help others.

The email claims that the sender has planted malware on the recipient's computer and has observed them watching pornography online.   As evidence that they really have control of the computer, the email begins by sharing one of the recipient's former passwords.

They then threaten that they are going to release a video of the recipient recorded from their webcam while they watched the pornography unless they receive $1000 in Bitcoin.  The good news, as my former student knew, was that this was almost certainly an empty threat.   There have dozens of variations on this scheme, but it is based on the concept that if someone knows your password, they COULD know much more about you.  In this case, the password came from a data breach involving a gaming site where the recipient used to hang out online.  So, if you think to yourself "This must be real, they know my password!" just remember that there have been  HUNDREDS of data breaches where email addresses and their corresponding passwords have been leaked.  (The website "Have I Been Pwned?" has collected over 500 Million such email/password pair leaks.  In full disclosure, my personal email is in their database TEN times and my work email is in their database SIX times, which doesn't concern me because I follow the proper password practice of using different passwords on every site I visit.  Sites including Adobe, which asks for you to register before downloading software, and LinkedIn are among some of the giants who have had breaches that revealed passwords.  One list circulating on the dark web has 1.4 BILLION userids and passwords gathered from at least 250 distinct data breaches.)

Knowing that context, even if you happen to be one of those millions of Americans who have watched porn online.  DON'T PANIC!  This email is definitely a fake, using their knowledge of a breached password to try to convince you they have blackmail information about you.

We'll go ahead and share the exact text of the email, replacing only the password with the word YOURPASSWORDHERE.

YOURPASSWORDHERE is one of your passphrase. Lets get directly to the point. There is no one who has paid me to investigate you. You don't know me and you are most likely wondering why you are getting this mail?
In fact, I actually installed a malware on the X video clips (porn) web site and do you know what, you visited this site to experience fun (you know what I mean). When you were watching video clips, your browser initiated functioning as a RDP that has a key logger which provided me accessibility to your display screen and also cam. after that, my software obtained your entire contacts from your Messenger, Facebook, and email . After that I made a double-screen video. 1st part shows the video you were viewing (you've got a nice taste omg), and next part shows the view of your web cam, & its you. 
You have got not one but two alternatives. We will go through these choices in details:
First alternative is to neglect this email message. In such a case, I will send out your very own videotape to all of your contacts and also visualize about the embarrassment you will definitely get. And definitely if you happen to be in a romantic relationship, exactly how this will affect?
Latter solution is to compensate me $1000. Let us describe it as a donation. In such a case, I will asap delete your video. You can go forward your daily life like this never occurred and you surely will never hear back again from me.
You'll make the payment through Bitcoin (if you do not know this, search for "how to buy bitcoin" in Google). 
BTC Address: 192hBrF64LcTQUkQRmRAVgLRC5SQRCWshi[CASE sensitive so copy and paste it]
If you are thinking about going to the law, well, this email can not be traced back to me. I have taken care of my moves. I am not attempting to charge a fee a huge amount, I simply want to be rewarded. You have one day in order to pay. I have a specific pixel in this e-mail, and now I know that you have read through this mail. If I do not receive the BitCoins, I will definately send your video to all of your contacts including family members, co-workers, and so forth. Having said that, if I receive the payment, I'll destroy the video right away. If you really want proof, reply with Yes & I definitely will send out your video recording to your 5 friends. This is the non-negotiable offer and thus don't waste mine time & yours by responding to this message.
This particular scam was first seen in the wild back in December of 2017, though some similar versions predate it.  However, beginning in late May the scam kicked up in prevalence, and in the second week of July, apparently someone's botnet started sending this spam in SERIOUS volumes, as there have been more than a dozen news stories just in the past ten days about the scam.

Here's one such warning article from the Better Business Bureau's Scam Tracker.

One thing to mention is that the Bitcoin address means that we can track whether payments have been made to the criminal.  It seems that this particular botnet is using a very large number of unique bitcoin addresses.  It would be extremely helpful to this investigation if you could share in the comments section what Bitcoin address (the "BTC Address") was seen in your copy of the spam email.

As always, we encourage any victim of a cyber crime to report it to the FBI's Internet Crime and Complaint Center by visiting ic3.gov:



Please feel free to share this note with your friends!
Thank you!

UPDATE!!!

The excellent analysts at the SANS Internet Storm Center have also been gathering bitcoin addresses from victims.  In their sample so far, 17% of the Bitcoins have received payments totalling $235,000, so people truly are falling victim to this scam!

Please continue to share this post and encourage people to add their Bitcoin addresses as a comment below!

CyberCrime & Doing Time: Porn Extortion Email tied to Password Breach

This weekend I received an email forwarded from a stranger.  They had received a threatening email and had shared it with a former student of mine to ask advice.  Fortunately, the correct advice in this case was "Ignore it."  But they still shared it with me in case we could use it to help others.

The email claims that the sender has planted malware on the recipient's computer and has observed them watching pornography online.   As evidence that they really have control of the computer, the email begins by sharing one of the recipient's former passwords.

They then threaten that they are going to release a video of the recipient recorded from their webcam while they watched the pornography unless they receive $1000 in Bitcoin.  The good news, as my former student knew, was that this was almost certainly an empty threat.   There have dozens of variations on this scheme, but it is based on the concept that if someone knows your password, they COULD know much more about you.  In this case, the password came from a data breach involving a gaming site where the recipient used to hang out online.  So, if you think to yourself "This must be real, they know my password!" just remember that there have been  HUNDREDS of data breaches where email addresses and their corresponding passwords have been leaked.  (The website "Have I Been Pwned?" has collected over 500 Million such email/password pair leaks.  In full disclosure, my personal email is in their database TEN times and my work email is in their database SIX times, which doesn't concern me because I follow the proper password practice of using different passwords on every site I visit.  Sites including Adobe, which asks for you to register before downloading software, and LinkedIn are among some of the giants who have had breaches that revealed passwords.  One list circulating on the dark web has 1.4 BILLION userids and passwords gathered from at least 250 distinct data breaches.)

Knowing that context, even if you happen to be one of those millions of Americans who have watched porn online.  DON'T PANIC!  This email is definitely a fake, using their knowledge of a breached password to try to convince you they have blackmail information about you.

We'll go ahead and share the exact text of the email, replacing only the password with the word YOURPASSWORDHERE.

YOURPASSWORDHERE is one of your passphrase. Lets get directly to the point. There is no one who has paid me to investigate you. You don't know me and you are most likely wondering why you are getting this mail?
In fact, I actually installed a malware on the X video clips (porn) web site and do you know what, you visited this site to experience fun (you know what I mean). When you were watching video clips, your browser initiated functioning as a RDP that has a key logger which provided me accessibility to your display screen and also cam. after that, my software obtained your entire contacts from your Messenger, Facebook, and email . After that I made a double-screen video. 1st part shows the video you were viewing (you've got a nice taste omg), and next part shows the view of your web cam, & its you. 
You have got not one but two alternatives. We will go through these choices in details:
First alternative is to neglect this email message. In such a case, I will send out your very own videotape to all of your contacts and also visualize about the embarrassment you will definitely get. And definitely if you happen to be in a romantic relationship, exactly how this will affect?
Latter solution is to compensate me $1000. Let us describe it as a donation. In such a case, I will asap delete your video. You can go forward your daily life like this never occurred and you surely will never hear back again from me.
You'll make the payment through Bitcoin (if you do not know this, search for "how to buy bitcoin" in Google). 
BTC Address: 192hBrF64LcTQUkQRmRAVgLRC5SQRCWshi[CASE sensitive so copy and paste it]
If you are thinking about going to the law, well, this email can not be traced back to me. I have taken care of my moves. I am not attempting to charge a fee a huge amount, I simply want to be rewarded. You have one day in order to pay. I have a specific pixel in this e-mail, and now I know that you have read through this mail. If I do not receive the BitCoins, I will definately send your video to all of your contacts including family members, co-workers, and so forth. Having said that, if I receive the payment, I'll destroy the video right away. If you really want proof, reply with Yes & I definitely will send out your video recording to your 5 friends. This is the non-negotiable offer and thus don't waste mine time & yours by responding to this message.
This particular scam was first seen in the wild back in December of 2017, though some similar versions predate it.  However, beginning in late May the scam kicked up in prevalence, and in the second week of July, apparently someone's botnet started sending this spam in SERIOUS volumes, as there have been more than a dozen news stories just in the past ten days about the scam.

Here's one such warning article from the Better Business Bureau's Scam Tracker.

One thing to mention is that the Bitcoin address means that we can track whether payments have been made to the criminal.  It seems that this particular botnet is using a very large number of unique bitcoin addresses.  It would be extremely helpful to this investigation if you could share in the comments section what Bitcoin address (the "BTC Address") was seen in your copy of the spam email.

As always, we encourage any victim of a cyber crime to report it to the FBI's Internet Crime and Complaint Center by visiting ic3.gov:



Please feel free to share this note with your friends!
Thank you!


CyberCrime & Doing Time

Dark Web ‘RDP Shops’ Offer Access to Vulnerable Systems for as Little as $3

Cybercriminals have been selling remote desktop protocol (RDP) access to compromised machines on business networks through Dark Web marketplaces, according to July 2018 research from McAfee. Bad actors can do a lot with this access, including committing other acts of fraud and facilitating data breaches.

Given the widespread use of the protocol, organizations should implement basic security measures and password hygiene practices to protect themselves from this threat.

Dark Web Shops Offer Cheap Access to Breached Systems

While analyzing underground web marketplaces, the McAfee Advanced Threat Research team came across several “RDP shops” selling access to vulnerable systems. Some of these shops offered access to more than a dozen connections. Others, most notably the Ultimate Anonymity Service (UAS), had more than 40,000 links up for sale.

Most of these systems consisted of computers running Windows XP through Windows 10, with Windows 2008 and 2012 Server the most prevalent at 11,000 and 6,500 links, respectively. Access to those systems ranged in value from $3 to $19, with dozens of connections linked to healthcare institutions. McAfee’s most significant find was an offering that promised access to the security and building automation systems of a major international airport for just $10.

RDP Access: A Versatile Threat

Flashpoint cybercrime analyst Olivia Rowley explained that RDP access is such a hot commodity because attackers can use it to facilitate a wide variety of crimes.

“For some cybercriminals, it may be more advantageous to use a compromised RDP as a staging ground for conducting other fraud, such as making a fraudulent purchase,” Rowley said, as quoted by Dark Reading in November 2017. “Cybercriminals may also find that the compromised RDP contains sensitive files or other proprietary information, thus making the RDP a tool for conducting data breaches.”

A proprietary protocol from Microsoft, the RDP potentially leaves enterprises exposed to attackers because it allows users to control computers over a network remotely. While it’s designed to help simplify administrative tasks for businesses, attackers can abuse the protocol to remotely access computers on an internal network, including those containing sensitive information. They can then either steal that information or conduct a Samsam ransomware attack to extort payments from victims.

How Can Companies Thwart RDP Attacks?

To minimize the threat of RDP attacks, according to the McAfee report, organizations should disallow RDP connections over the open web, restrict the number of failed login attempts before an account is locked and use multifactor authentication (MFA) to make brute-force attacks more difficult.

Perhaps most importantly, security leaders should work to increase cyber awareness among employees — especially as it relates to password hygiene — through continuous training and education.

The post Dark Web ‘RDP Shops’ Offer Access to Vulnerable Systems for as Little as $3 appeared first on Security Intelligence.

Credential Stuffing List Containing 111 Million Records Found Online

A security researcher discovered an online credential stuffing list containing 111 million records that attackers could abuse to prey upon unsuspecting users. Troy Hunt, an Australian web security expert and creator of the second version of Pwned Passwords, learned about the list from several supporters of his Have I Been Pwned service. They directed him […]… Read More

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Why Multifactor Authentication Is Crucial to Strengthen Mainframe Security

Mainframes are built to be far more reliable and scalable than common endpoints and systems. However, the security guarding the valuable data they hold may not always meet the same standard.

But what can be done to strengthen mainframe security?

Today’s most advanced mainframes can process billions of high-value transactions per day — and if you’re authenticating users with passwords alone, it may be time to go multifactor.

What Is Multifactor Authentication?

Multifactor authentication (MFA) is an increasingly important tool for validating the identity of users accessing everything from desktops to cloud-based resources. MFA creates friction for attackers with minimal disruption to legitimate users.

How does it do this? MFA inspects multiple identifying factors associated with a specific user account. These factors can range from physical tokens to a user’s biometric and behavioral traits. Whatever the details, MFA throws a wrench into attackers’ plans by raising the authentication assurance level that the system can demand of a specific user.

Don’t Leave the Mainframe Key Under the Doormat

Mainframe infrastructure is different from most user-facing elements of an enterprise’s IT environment — and MFA may not be top of mind as an element of mainframe security.

Mainframes hold more mission-critical and sensitive data than any other platform. They also typically sit in a physically secured data center. Since only a small number of expert users work in these facilities, it’s tempting to think of mainframes as secure by default. However, these are not isolated systems — to achieve their high return on investment (ROI), mainframes must still connect to myriad systems and people outside of the data center.

The problem of password insecurity that affects smartphones, cloud-based systems and more also applies to mainframes. In fact, the stakes are much higher because mainframes store some of the enterprise’s most sensitive assets. Besides the threat of data theft, other risks include costly fines for regulatory noncompliance.

Attackers know mainframes hold vital data, and they do their best to steal the passwords that get them past the gate. No matter how physically secure they are, mainframes are typically accessed by network connections, which are often protected by passwords alone. If a threat actor gains the privileges of an authorized user, he or she may be able to bypass other security features of the mainframe itself.

Not even pervasive encryption can prevent data loss on its own if it’s transparent to a legitimate login that has been stolen. Every security administrator knows passwords can be compromised — whether through malicious or negligent insider behavior or brute-force guessing. Trusted and honest users also share passwords innocently for convenience, potentially exposing their credentials to interception.

A Layered, Flexible Approach to Mainframe Security

Strong security systems are all about reducing risk and closing the gaps that intruders can sneak through, but their value is greatly diminished if they interrupt or delay users or require complex changes to the security infrastructure. Mainframe users must carefully steward the resources they have access to — and every minute counts.

By adopting an MFA solution for mainframe security, administrators can present a layered defense without requiring any third-party software or hardware between a user’s remote system and the mainframe itself. Depending on the authorization method chosen, the solution can be hosted entirely on the mainframe.

Because risks vary, this MFA approach is flexible. The security administrator defines which authentication factors are appropriate and determines which users must supply additional factors. IBM MFA for z/OS, for example, is designed to centralize the valid factors within the context of the IBM Resource Access Control Facility (RACF), as well as CA Top Secret and CA Access Control Facility 2 (ACF2).

These factors can include:

  • Passwords and passphrases;
  • Cryptographic token devices, including both hardware and software-based tokens like RSA SecurID and Gemalto’s SafeNet Authentication Service tokens;
  • The entry of a timed one-time use password (TOTP) generated from a variety of sources, including IBM TouchToken, IBM Verify and any RADIUS-based server; and
  • Certificate-based authentication, including smart cards, personal identity verification (PIV) cards and common access cards (CACs).

Although mainframe security tends to fall off organizations’ radar, IT leaders should implement at least as much protection on these systems as they would on any mobile device, application or cloud-based service. After all, mainframes typically hold the enterprise’s crown jewels — making them prime targets for attackers. Given these high stakes, MFA is must-have for any mainframe system administrator.

Learn more about IBM Multi-Factor Authentication for z/OS

The post Why Multifactor Authentication Is Crucial to Strengthen Mainframe Security appeared first on Security Intelligence.

Irish Retailer Reveals It Was Affected by International Data Breach

An Irish retailer revealed that an international data breach might have exposed some of its customers’ personal information. On 4 July, Harvey Norman Ireland sent out a letter to customers informing them of the incident. Its correspondence didn’t disclose the number of customers potentially affected by the breach. But it did identify the types of […]… Read More

The post Irish Retailer Reveals It Was Affected by International Data Breach appeared first on The State of Security.

Let’s stop talking about password strength

Picture from EFF -- CC-BY license
Near the top of most security recommendations is to use "strong passwords". We need to stop doing this.

Yes, weak passwords can be a problem. If a website gets hacked, weak passwords are easier to crack. It's not that this is wrong advice.

On the other hand, it's not particularly good advice, either. It's far down the list of important advice that people need to remember. "Weak passwords" are nowhere near the risk of "password reuse". When your Facebook or email account gets hacked, it's because you used the same password across many websites, not because you used a weak password.

Important websites, where the strength of your password matters, already take care of the problem. They use strong, salted hashes on the backend to protect the password. On the frontend, they force passwords to be a certain length and a certain complexity. Maybe the better advice is to not trust any website that doesn't enforce stronger passwords (minimum of 8 characters consisting of both letters and non-letters).

To some extent, this "strong password" advice has become obsolete. A decade ago, websites had poor protection (MD5 hashes) and no enforcement of complexity, so it was up to the user to choose strong passwords. Now that important websites have changed their behavior, such as using bcrypt, there is less onus on the user.


But the real issue here is that "strong password" advice reflects the evil, authoritarian impulses of the infosec community. Instead of measuring insecurity in terms of costs vs. benefits, risks vs. rewards, we insist that it's an issue of moral weakness. We pretend that flaws happen because people are greedy, lazy, and ignorant. We pretend that security is its own goal, a benefit we should achieve, rather than a cost we must endure.

We like giving moral advice because it's easy: just be "stronger". Discussing "password reuse" is more complicated, forcing us discuss password managers, writing down passwords on paper, that it's okay to reuse passwords for crappy websites you don't care about, and so on.

What I'm trying to say is that the moral weakness here is us. Rather then give pertinent advice we give lazy advice. We give the advice that victim shames them for being weak while pretending that we are strong.

So stop telling people to use strong passwords. It's crass advice on your part and largely unhelpful for your audience, distracting them from the more important things.

POLL: Do you use two-factor authentication?

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month in the US, and European Cyber Security Month in Europe. Basically, institutions in these two countries have decided that it’s time for people to get serious about cybersecurity. And they’re right to do it – according to F-Secure’s Business Security Insider blog, there was 81 cyberattacks every minute in 2014.

So hacking is a serious business for these attackers. And one security measure that experts would like to see used more widely is two-factor authentication.

 

Two-factor (or multi-factor) authentication refers to using more than one piece of information to safeguard access to accounts. Many popular services, such as Facebook and Twitter, offer it to users. However, very few services require it. It’s really more of an option for people interested in having a little bit of extra security for their accounts. A recent survey from Google points out that 89 percent of security experts use two-factor authentication for at least one of their online accounts.

But it’s less popular amongst non-experts. Only 62 percent of non-expert respondents to Google’s survey used two-factor authentication. Other studies indicate that two-factor authentication may be even less popular, with one recent consumer survey finding that 56 percent of respondents were unfamiliar with two-factor authentication.

Although two-factor authentication has been around for ages, it’s starting to become offered by many online services. Passwords are currently the standard in account security, but adding in two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security. It basically means anyone that gets access to your password will essentially only have “half a key” to your account.

So why don’t more people use it? After all, nearly 80 percent of people are open to alternatives to traditional passwords. One reason might be that it’s too difficult or inconvenient. But the widespread use of mobile devices is making this much easier. Email and SMS messages seem to be easiest and the most popular, with one study finding almost 90 percent of participants using two-factor authentication did so by receiving a code through SMS or email, which they could then enter into a website to confirm their identity.

Another reason could be availability. It’s up to companies and organizations providing online accounts to offer two-factor authentication to customers. This website provides a pretty good list of different online services offering two-factor authentication, so it’s a pretty handy resource. You can also use the site to send tweets to companies not offering two-factor authentication (so don’t hesitate to send a message if you want someone providing you with a service to improve their account security features).

If you crunch the numbers provided by the site, you can get an idea about how common two-factor authentication is for different kinds of services:

  • Cryptocurrencies: 96%
  • Identity Management: 93%
  • Cloud Computing: 77%
  • Gaming: 69%
  • Hosting/VPS: 69%
  • Email: 65%
  • Domains: 65%
  • Developers: 63%
  • Communication: 62%
  • Backup and Sync Services: 60%
  • Investing: 38%
  • Banking and Financial Services: 35%
  • Health: 30%
  • Finance: 28%
  • Education: 25%
  • Entertainment: 7%

So two-factor authentication is definitely more prominent in some industries than others. F-Secure Security Advisor Sean Sullivan says that it’s definitely worth choosing services offering two-factor authentication, especially for important accounts that you use daily, or contain really sensitive information.

“You should figure out what accounts are critical and focus on securing those by using strong, unique passwords and two-factor authentication,” he says. “Lots of companies will offer a monthly or periodic two-factor authentication check, which requires you to enter a code you receive via SMS into a pre-defined phone or computer. It’s really worth having a primary email account with one of these services, as you can centralize information there instead of spreading it around, which makes it easier to stay in control of your accounts.”

Next time you’re thinking about setting up an online account somewhere, you may want to circle back to whether or not they offer two-factor authentication. With the number of devices expected to explode as the Internet of Things becomes more and more popular, it only makes sense to consider whether you’re information is as secure as you’d like.

[ Image by momentcaptured1 | Flickr ]

3 Password Tips from the Pros

Passwords are the keys to online accounts. A good password known only to account owners can ensure email, social media accounts, bank accounts, etc. stay accessible only to the person (or people) that need them. But a bad password will do little to prevent people from getting access to those accounts, and can expose you to serious security risks (such as identity theft). And sadly, many people continue to recycle easy to guess/crack passwords.

A recent study conducted by researchers from Google attempted to nail down the most common pieces of advice and practices recommended by security researchers, and unsurprisingly, several of them had to do with passwords. And there were several gaps between what security experts recommend people do when creating passwords, and what actually happens. Here’s 3 expert tips to help you use passwords to keep your accounts safe and secure.

  1. Unique Passwords are Better than Strong Passwords

One thing experts recommend doing is to choose a strong and unique password – advice many people hear but few actually follow. Chances are, if your password is on this computer science professor’s dress, it’s not keeping your accounts particularly secure.

Many major online service providers automatically force you to choose a password that follows certain guidelines (such as length and character combinations), and even provide you feedback on the password’s strength. But security researchers such as F-Secure Security Advisor Sean Sullivan say that, while strong passwords are important, the value of choosing unique passwords is an equally important part of securing your account.

Basically, using unique passwords means you shouldn’t recycle the same password for use with several different accounts, or even slight variations of the same word or phrase. Google likens that to having one key for all the doors in your house, as well as your car and office. Each service should get its own password. That way, one compromised account won’t give someone else the keys to everything you do online.

A strong password will be long, use combinations of upper-case and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols. The password should also be a term or phrase that is personal to you – and not a phrase or slogan familiar to the general public, or something people that know you could easily guess. But there are still many ways to compromise these passwords, as proven by The Great Politician Hack.

So using unique passwords prevents criminals, spies, etc. from using one compromised password to access several different services. Sullivan says choosing strong and unique passwords for critical accounts – such as online banking, work related email or social media accounts, or cloud storage services containing personal documents – is a vital part of having good account security.

  1. Experts Use Password Managers for a Reason

One study showed that the average Internet user has 26 different online accounts. Assuming you’re choosing unique passwords, and you fit the bill of an “average Internet user”, you’ll find yourself with a large number of passwords. You’ve now made your account so safe and secure that you can’t even use it!

That’s why experts recommend using a password manager. Password managers can help people maintain strong account security by letting them choose strong and unique passwords for each account, and store them securely so that they’re centralized and accessible. Keeping 26 or more online accounts secure with strong and unique passwords known only to you is what password managers do to keep your data safe, which is why 73% of experts that took part in Google’s study use them, compared to just 24% of non-experts.

  1. Take Advantage of Additional Security Features

Another great way to secure accounts is to activate two-factor authentication whenever it’s made available. Two-factor (or multi-factor) authentication essentially uses two different methods to verify the identity of a particular account holder. An example of this would be protecting your account with a password, but also having your phone number registered as a back-up, so any kind of password reset done on the account makes use of your phone to verify you are who you say you are.

While the availability of this option may be limited, security experts recommend taking advantage of it whenever you can. You can find a list of some popular services that use two-factor authentication here, as well as some other great tips for using passwords to keep your online accounts secure.

[Photo by geralt | Pixabay]