Keeping Your Passwords Safe is More Important than Ever
(And Easier Too!)
Recently we sat down with a client to help them set up our client-only website, MySummitPlace.com. The client was excited to link all their financial accounts and see their entire net worth picture in one place. So after reviewing their invested portfolio, we began identifying the online access information for their insurance, bank and mortgage. The client knew the general information, but had to go searching for the latest password. They knew to change their passwords regularly, but admitted that then, they sometimes forgot to update it where they kept their password list- a small yellow pad in a desk drawer nearby. We have seen this many times, smart thinking about passwords that can fail terribly due to yellow sticky notes, compromised email accounts or text files sitting on a computer desktop. But there are great password manager solutions these days!
You know it’s important to use strong unique passwords on all your devices and accounts. Strong passwords use both upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters. If you’re creating them on your own, avoid using your name, initials, birthdate, or any part of your social security number (or your children’s or grandchildren’s).
Remembering all of these passwords, however, can be quite challenging. The solution is a password manager! These applications secure all your passwords and logon information in one encrypted database, requiring you to only remember one master password. In times like this, when you are asked to change passwords regularly, these applications are extremely helpful because they also can generate random strong passwords for you for each site.
A Few to Consider:
- 1Password: agilebits.com/onepassword
This application sits on your computer as well as all your other mobile devices. For a low monthly fee it will automatically sync passwords and logins between them. There is also a family plan to share with others. This is useful to share passwords with your direct family, or perhaps just to share with a trusted person to make sure all your important accounts are known and accessible. 1Password also has a wallet function to securely save credit cards and other numbers you would like to access paperlessly at home and on the run.
- Roboform: http://www.roboform.com
Roboform also works on all your computers and mobile devices and offers a limited free version. For an annual fee, the premium version syncs all your devices, has a secure wallet/vault and offers two factor verification. Roboform also has s family subscription to share securely with family members
- Dashlane: https://www.dashlane.com
Dashlane offers a free password manager that saves your current passwords, generates secure random passwords for any site and also allows limited access to an emergency contact. The premium version will sync across your devices, share with others and back up your information automatically.
We are sure there are even more choices that you might find, and choosing among them is mostly about your personal choice of features and ease of use. We hope you might use your summer to dive into a more secure approach to your password management. Throw away the yellow post it notes on the wall, the scribbled index cards in the back of a drawer or the scrap of paper folded in your wallet! We take your financial cyber security more seriously than ever, and we hope we can help you do the same.
Note: an earlier version of this blog appeared in May, 2014.