With all the news about hackers and secured data leaking to the web, have you ever wondered whether your most private data has been compromised? The Have I Been Pwned website allows you to check if your email accounts were breached.
In the online world your identity is represented in different places by identifiers like your email address, a username, or an account number, together with an associated password. Keeping your online identity secured is all about all these passwords – making them hard to guess. It’s likely that you have tens or even hundreds of different accounts on different websites you use or ever signed up with. With so many online accounts your online security is not an easy thing to handle well.
Your Smart Home Complicates Your Online Security
This problem becomes compounded if you also have a Smart Home. As we have noted in an earlier blog post, your Smart Home Security should be a priority item for you to consider. Breaches there might even endanger your physical well-being. Once your network has been hacked, your data can be accessed and your devices can be controlled, whether it’s viewing your video cameras, controlling your Thermostat or lights, or even unlocking your door and stepping in. And when many Smart Devices are connected to your Smart Home, your vulnerability increases if the security aspects have not been given the right attention.
To be able to cope with so many passwords, many people set up passwords that are easy to remember such as combinations of their name, their kids’ names, their pets’ names, telephone numbers, addresses, birthdays, and other easy to remember phrases. Their passwords might even be one of the most popular passwords many people use. They may also use the same password on multiple websites. The easier you make it for yourself to remember the password, the easier you make it for others to hack your account. Hackers can more easily figure out your password. Once one account has been hacked the way is open to access all other accounts using the same password.
Back to the Smart Home – many people don’t even bother to modify the default Username and Password setup for Smart Devices, which was assigned at the factory. The default setting allows easy access to the devices with no effort whatsoever, and from there the door is open for access to the entire network. Russian website streaming hundreds of cameras in Canada sounds like a very serious cybersecurity hack, while the simple fact is that all these cameras had the default setting from the factory that the owners didn’t change.
Nest, the smart home company owned by Google, is proactively locking people out of their accounts if it believes their passwords have been compromised. The company began sending out emails to affected users last night. If you’ve been affected, you’ll need to tell your Nest app to forget your current password and enter a new one. Google knows you’re lazy, so it’s forcing you to be better.
Guarding Your Online Security
The better way to secure your online identity involves the following steps:
- Use Strong Passwords, 12 or more characters, random combination of characters of all kinds – upper case, lower case, numeric, and special characters, whatever the website allows.
- Use a different password for every site so if one has been hacked the other accounts are still safe.
- Change the passwords once in a while so if an account has been compromised it gets secured again.
Clearly some tool to implement this operation securely and with ease of operation is desirable. This is where a Password Manager can help by keeping your strong passwords securely and entering them for you whenever you need it. It can also generate for you strong passwords, autofill them when you are completing forms, provide secure storage for your Confidential Data, and much, much more.
In the blog post Protect your Online Identity and Confidential Data with Good Password Management, we describe what a Password Manager is and how it can help in protecting your Online Identity and Confidential Data.