How busy mums can improve online security in four easy steps

Cyber security hacks have made a few headlines this year, most noticeably a LinkedIn data dump on the dark web which caused Facebook Mark Zuckerberg’s Twitter account to be hacked four years later. How were the two linked? Like many people, Zuckerberg was guilty of using the same password across multiple accounts and not updating them over time. This means when one account is compromised, it’s easy for hackers to try and get into your other accounts using the same credentials.

When juggling jobs, outgoings and kids, it can be a nightmare to keep track of all passwords, which leaves both personal and business data at risk. For busy mums caught in the “set, re-set and forget” password cycle, Joe Siegrist, CEO of LastPass, has shared his top tips to help secure your online activates:

Keep an eye out for phishing scams!

Phishing is a scam where a criminal uses fake or partial information to try and trick someone into revealing passwords or other confidential information. Firstly, always use anti-virus, anti-malware and firewall software. Further, make sure that you run such software on all computers you use and that the virus definition files are up to date. NEVER click on any links in emails unless you specifically requested that the email be sent to you.

Don’t store your passwords locally in browsers

While using your browsers to locally store passwords may be convenient, it is very insecure, leaving you and your passwords vulnerable if you were to be hacked. That very convenience is what prevents storing passwords in your browser from being as secure and robust as a password manager could be. Again, using a dedicated password manager takes it several steps further to help you manage your digital life. Encryption and decryption by a password manager happens locally, so zero-knowledge architecture ensures that you do not share your master password and therefore never give the key away to your data.

Life hack – you don’t need to rely on your memory to remember passwords!

When re-using passwords, it’s often too late by the time news of a hack reaches us, but you can take precautionary steps to make your data secure: the most important one being to use a password manager. Using unique passwords for all your online accounts ensures that if they’re leaked in a breach, they can’t be used by hackers to get into any of your other accounts. A password manager, like LastPass, is a secure way to generate long, complex and unique passwords without relying on your brain or a piece of paper to remember them. Better yet, it’s easy to import log-in data from all the accounts associated with your email address, and they’re encrypted.

Turn on Two Factor Authentication across all accounts, including your email(s). With two-factor authentication (2FA) activated on your important accounts, it means that even if a hacker has your password, they will not be able to access the account without having a second piece of information such as a one-time code generated from an app on your phone or a fingerprint. Two-factor is incredibly valuable for your email address, which is essentially the gateway to everything you do online, including your bank account, credit cards, investments and much more.

Don’t make security questions your weakest link

Many online accounts will ask you to set up security questions to add an extra layer of safety to your account. However, they are typically terrible for security and, for many people, are the weak link in their overall online security system. Again, you can encrypt and store complex answers to these questions in your password manager.

Not only will managing passwords in this way increase your security, but it will increase your productivity, too. Not only can you free up space in your brain from all those annoying times you can’t remember your password, it also automatically inputs your information, saving you valuable typing time. Work or personal admin becomes streamlined and stress free – or one less thing to worry about!

*Joe Siegrist is VP and GM of password manager LastPass.

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