A few days ago, during a thunderstorm, I opened my iPad for the first time in a while, andwas hit with this message:
“Your password is required to enable Face ID.”
I shrugged my shoulders, and immediately typed out the password I use for most devices.
Confused, I began to think back to when I last used this iPad: did I change the password? Then it dawned upon me. A few weeks ago, I changed the password to something that I believed would be easier to type into the keyboard.
The only problem was that I had absolutely no idea what it was.
Frantically, I entered my other most common passwords, to no avail. I shamefully plugged in my iPad into my laptop, ready to reset it to the factory settings and start anew.
This wouldn’t have happened if I had been responsible with my password management.
Luckily, the effects of my actions were benign; all I had to deal with was 20 minutes lost and a deep annoyance towards my past self. However, the consequences could be much more severe; at best, you consistently lose your time, and at worst, several life decisions could be altered if you simply cannot recall or obtain important information.
Today’s newsletter is about responsible password management; hopefully after reading these short tips, you’ll save some time and hopefully prevent a future disaster.
Tip #1: Use a Password Management Tool
There are two ways to help remember your passwords. You could either use the same password for everything, or you could store them in some sort of external system. And because it’s generally inadvisable to use the same password for multiple accounts for security reasons, some sort of systematic method is needed to store confidential information.
I used to literally have a note on my phone called Passwordswith all of them listed, but that wasn’t secure nor was it convenient to access.
Then, I came across password management tools such as LastPass (the one I use) and DashLane. These have revolutionized my password ease of access and safety.
The base use of these vault-like systems is to securely store all of your passwords for multiple locations, while being easily accessible from any device. These programs accomplish this perfectlyand offer many small perks that when added up save a significant amount of my time. These include password generating tools, which can adapt to any requirement or specification (like character limit), and auto fill, which automatically fills in the password for the specific service on any device. I cannot stress enough how useful these features are.
In my opinion, everyone should be using one of these. Right after you finish reading this newsletter, click one of those links and sign up. They’re both totally free.
Tip #2: Use Multi-Factor Authentication for Important Accounts
There are three ways to identify someone is who they say they are. A system can ask for 1) something you know 2) something you have 3) something you are.
The first case is the classic example: passwords fall into this areaand are the most common example of a verification technique. The second is when you need to have something to access a system, such as a debit card to access an ATM. Finally, the third is usually biometric or location data; an example of this is your phone using a fingerprint or face to identify it’s really you.
Multi-factor authentication is when a system requires multiple of these access points; this makes the system significantly more secure. Multi-factor authentication is usually completed through a text message code that you have to enter, or through an app like Duo Mobile.
You should always turn on multi-factor authentication for important accounts like bank information or credit card accounts.
For more information on this, watch this video by Tom Scott.
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