One thing

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One thing: a reader asks…

Quick question: if there’s only one thing I can do to secure my digital life, what would it be?

Quick answer – exercise good password management. I’ll try to keep the answer as short as I can, although I’ve written extensively about this subject in many past articles. You need to use strong and unguessable passwords that are unique to each and every online entity you deal with. There’s no way a human can really do this, keeping track of dozens or hundreds of long and complicated passwords is impossible. So hire yourself a password manager to take care of that for you. A password manager is either software on a computer, or SaaS (software as a service), aka a cloud-based software solution. I recommend LastPass, although other good choices include 1Password and Dashlane.

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At this point in time, anything less than 13 characters in a password renders anything you use marginal. Hackers have gotten so good at cracking passwords that you need that many characters to keep them from using specialized hardware to guess your password by brute force. Personally, I use even longer passwords whenever possible, up to 21 characters! Since I use a password manager, I don’t have to create mnemonics, keep written lists, or G_d forbid! use the same password everywhere. My password manager works in my web browser and fills in passwords for me on the fly. I also have the app on my smartphone for other times when I need a password.

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word-graphic-computer-digital-life-threats-image-from-shutterstockSo that’s one thing: develop good password habits. I’ll leave you there, with one other consideration: take a look at my Safe Computing Practices for when you can get beyond just one thing.

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