It’s almost that time of the year, when millions of people decide that a flip of the calendar is a good time to make personal commitments. The tradition of New Year’s resolutions has been around since ancient times, so has the tradition of breaking resolutions by the first week of February. In 2013, instead of letting your gym membership go to waste or instead of paying off your credit card bills (okay you should still do that), I am proposing to make a New Year’s resolution for better online security. Here are a few suggestions that are easy and can take just a few minutes:
- Double the number of passwords that you use: Although every security expert will tell you to use a different password on every site, the reality is that most people won’t. So take a few small steps and double the number of “go-to” passwords in your arsenal. If you currently rotate through the same 4 passwords, make 2013 the year that you expand that to 8. Ten passwords? Make it 20.
- Add a passcode to lock your phone: A recent study estimates that “every American will lose or misplace their phone at least once a year.”* And yet, more than half of you do not have a passcode to protect someone from accessing your information. For one of the easiest New Year’s resolutions ever, add a passcode to lock your phone. Search Google for “Add passcode to insert your type of phone here.” Follow the few easy steps and finish your New Year’s Resolution by the end of January 1.
- Turn on Two-Factor Authentication on your email: An abundance of personal information is easily discovered inside your email account. This treasure trove of data is almost always easily accessible with just a username and password. Turning on Two-Factor Authentication or Two Step Authentication sends a verification code to your phone when you are logging in from an unrecognized computer. This simple step thwarts hackers that have acquired your password from phishing and other malicious attacks. Go to your email security settings and turn on this tool for your security New Year’s resolution. For extra credit, turn on Two-Factor Authentication in your social network accounts too.
Choose one or all of the above suggestions as one of your resolutions. That way when your gym membership is still going to waste in March, you can remember that at least one of your resolutions was a success in 2013. Have a happy and safe New Year!