Having unique, complicated passwords for each of your accounts is an essential element of online security.  However, remembering all of your passwords can be a difficult task for many people, which is why so many people use online password managers, which store all of your passwords for you.  These companies, however, are tempting targets for identity thieves.  Earlier this month, I told you about a data breach at the password manager company LastPass that suffered a data breach in which 33 million people had much personal information stolen that could lead to identity theft.

Now we have learned that a number of people using Norton’s Password Manager had their accounts hacked, but it should be emphasized that the fault was not with Norton, but with Norton users who used the same master password for their password manager account that they used for multiple other accounts, at least one of which suffered a data breach.  Scammers and identity thieves purchase passwords compromised in data breaches that are sold, often in large batches on the Dark Web where criminals who have hacked into companies and stolen passwords and other personal information sell the stolen information to other criminals

In 2018 researchers at Aalto University and the University of Helsinki discovered security flaws affecting the technology used by all of the password managers. The researchers disclosed their findings to the affected companies which took steps to remedy the problem, but the bottom line is that while using a password manager is helpful, it will always be a target of hackers and you may be more comfortable using unique, complex passwords for each account that you can readily remember without using a password manager. This is not as difficult as it sounds as you will read below.

TIPS

First, if you are interested in using a password manager, here is a link to an article  from PC magazine that compares many of the legitimate password managers available to you. https://www.pcmag.com/picks/the-best-password-managers

If you do decide to use a password manager, you should remember not to use your password manager master password for any of your other accounts.  You also should use dual factor authentication so that even if someone were to gain access to your password manager master password, your password manager account could not be accessed.

However, if you would like to use the helping hand you find at the end of your own arm and generate unique, complex passwords for each of your accounts that are easy to remember, here is a strategy that is very effective. You can start with a strong base password constructed from a phrase, such as IDon’tLikePasswords that has capital letters, small letters and a symbol, add a few symbols at the end so it may read IDon’tLikePasswords!!! and then adapt it with a few letters for each particular account you have so that you will have a secure and easy to remember password for each of your online accounts.   Thus, your Amazon password could be IDon’tLikePasswords!!!AMA.

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