General Safety Tips
Extra Precautions to Prevent Perpetrators from Accessing Sensitive Data
While Email Safety is of the utmost importance, rounding out security in other aspects of online use is just as vital to protecting user information and data. These tips can help keep any account safer when applied effectively.
To begin, password safety is of the utmost importance as it is the first line of defense for sensitive information stored on user accounts. It is important to use strong passwords that are unique for each account operated by a user. A strong password contains at least 12 characters, as well as uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Never share passwords with another user or keep it in a place that is easily accesible to others. In other words, create strong passwords that are different for each account and keep them safe from others. It is also recommended to take advantage of multi-factor authentication when offered. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) acts as another layer of security for an account. A third-party is used to send a code to the user, whether it be through an email or SMS message, or a code is generated in a specific authentication application. In most cases, these codes are one-time use and normally expire in a short amount of time, giving a small window to allow the user to authenticate before another code is required.
One option that makes passwords easier to manage is to use a password manager. This software allows a user to store and manage passwords and accounts all in one place. To achieve this, a master password to access the manager is user, and this allows access to all stored accounts. There are two main ways to manage passwords from a user's device, offline password managers and online password managers.
Offline Password Managers store data on the user's device locally. The passwords are kept in a file separate from the manager itself. A master password is required to access the rest of the stored information, as with other password managers. The benefit of storing this information offline is there are minimal avenues of access to a user's sensitive data. However, if the device is ever lost, damaged or access is lost in any way, it is highly improbable that the information can be recovered. Examples: KeePass, Enpass
Online Password Managers store data within the cloud, managed by the company or organization providing the service. The benefit of using an online password manager is that users can access their passwords from anywhere at any time on any device as the data is not saved to a single, local machine. This also means the passwords are not lost should a single machine used to access them is damaged. The passwords are accessed through a master account and password set up with the provider of the service. The main drawback of online password managers is that the information stored with the provider can be susceptible to any data breaches the provider may encounter. Examples: LastPass, NordPass
As a general warning, misplacing the master password for the manager normally results in loss of access to all accounts and information stored in the password manager. If a manager is used, be sure to keep the master password safe and accessible to you. In addition, if the manager is for personal use, research all options and find which one works best for your use.