We recently met with a customer to help them set up our MySummitPlace.com website for customers only. The client was happy to link all their financial accounts and see the whole picture of equity in one place. So after reviewing their invested portfolio, we began to discover information about internet access for their insurance, bank and mortgage. The customer knew the general information, but had to look for the last password. They knew that they changed their passwords regularly, but admitted that sometimes they forgot to update it where they kept the password list – a small yellow pad in the drawer was nearby. We’ve seen this many times, clever reflections on passwords that can be terribly flawed because of yellow notes, hacked email accounts, or text files that are on your computer’s desktop. But nowadays there are great password management solutions!
You know it’s important to use strong unique passwords on all your devices and accounts. Strong passwords use both uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. If you create them yourself, avoid using your name, initials, date of birth, or any part of your Social Security number (or the number of your children or grandchildren).
However, remembering all these passwords can be quite difficult. The solution is a password manager! These applications protect all your passwords and login information in a single encrypted database, requiring you to remember only one master password. At times like these, when you are asked to change your passwords regularly, these programs are very useful because they can also generate random strong passwords for each site.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- 1Password: www.agilebits.com/onepassword
1Password was one of the first great password managers. The software is on your computer as well as on 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 that can be shared with others. It’s helpful to share with your immediate family, and to share with a trusted loved one, perhaps to make sure all important accounts are known and available. 1Password also has a wallet feature to securely store credit cards and other numbers to which you would like paperless access 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 / storage, and offers two-factor verification. Roboform also has a family subscription for secure sharing with family members
- Dashlane: https://www.dashlane.com
Dashlane offers a free password manager that stores your current passwords, generates secure random passwords for any site, and allows limited access to emergency contact. The premium version will sync on your devices, share with others and automatically back up your information.
We’re sure you can find even more options, and choosing among them largely depends on your personal choice of features and ease of use. We hope you can use your summer to delve into a more secure approach to password management. Throw out the yellow letter he marks on the wall, scribbled pointing cards at the back of the box or a scrap of paper folded in your wallet! We take your financial cybersecurity more seriously than ever, and hope to be able to help you do the same.