It’s a new year…. It’s time to declutter my online life
I have 208 passwords for various accounts online in my personal password manager. This number is purely for my personal accounts - and most businesses will have hundreds or thousands of passwords to manage. Cyber Security is on the rise, with cyber crime now accounting for over 55% of all reported crime. The number of passwords we use is only going to increase as our online presence increases, and with every website where you have an account, there is a little bit more attack surface which could result in your personal data leaking into the public domain. This can happen because: The website could get hacked or have some other type of data breach. You shouldn’t blindly trust that providers of online services have the right security measures in place. You’ve re-used passwords and/or the passwords are weak - never reuse passwords on important accounts, and you should use strong passwords at all times. So I’m going to take you through the process of how I’m tidying up my online presence and personas, to make my life easier, but also to ensure I’m more secure online and protecting my personal data. 1. Use strong passwords in a password manager. There is no way you are going to remember all your passwords, unless you re-use the same one which is definitely not recommended! - using a password manager is a great way of generating and storing secure passwords. 2. Check what accounts you're signed up for. All those websites you signed up once for, then never used again – check whether they still have an account for you. If they do, request to close it - all online services that are GDPR / DPA2018 compliant should provide a way to close your account and delete your data – if they don’t, contact their support. 3. Single sign on. Does the site support Single Sign On with someone you already have a regularly-used account with, for example Google or Facebook. If so then use those credentials to sign in. 4. Two factor authentication. Where available ensure that two factor authentication is switched on and ensure you use pass codes and card readers with all your bank accounts. Our online presence is only going to increase as we use more websites and apps on line. Cyber attackers are becoming more sophisticated and we are all a target. They are not attacking you personally but looking for any vulnerabilities to obtain your personal information (such as weak passwords and replicated passwords). Spend some time now to tidy up your online presence, and stay safer online. If any of this has resonated with you, and you have found it useful, please share with friends and colleagues. If everyone did their bit to tighten up online security then it can help to make everyone safer online.