In today’s digital world, online privacy and security are more important than ever. As an older adult, you may not have as much experience with smartphones, social media, and online banking. But with the increasing number of cyber threats and data breaches, it’s crucial to learn how to keep your online accounts secure. In this article, we’ll share some fundamental yet effective tips to your personal information from falling into the wrong hands.
Use privacy settings
Every time you sign up for a new account, download a new app, or get a new device, it’s good to spend a little time learning about its privacy features and policies. Make sure to always configure the security settings to your comfort level for information sharing. Review these settings annually to check for new options and make sure they are still configured to your liking.
Make a memorable password
A strong password is your first and best line of defense for protecting your payment info and personal data online. When signing up for any kind of online account, you’re typically prompted to use a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols to create a highly secure password. Although this is a good tactic to create a strong password, it also tends to result in a password that’s difficult to remember – no matter your age. Since you should avoid using the same password across multiple accounts for maximum security, the number of gibberish-looking passwords you need to remember can get out of hand fast. Fortunately, there are a few solutions.
Passphrases vs passwords
Instead of passwords, try using passphrases. A passphrase is more like a sentence rather than a collection of random characters. For example: “Florid@_feels_best_in_the_wint3rtime” Although passwords are shorter and easier to type quickly, they are more vulnerable to brute force attacks (when a hacker uses software to repeatedly try different passwords until the correct one is found). Conversely, a passphrase is much harder for software to crack because the number of possible combinations increases exponentially with each additional character or word. Plus, passphrases are often more memorable than secure passwords filled with numbers and symbols.
According to a survey from Security.org, about 30% of people say they write their passwords down on paper, and only 2 out of 5 people say they memorize their passwords. If you have memory issues when it comes to passwords, or are interested in something more secure than sticky notes by the computer (or both), a password management system like LastPass or 1Password will store and organize all your passwords in one secure place so you don’t have to remember each one. Best of all, whenever you need to sign up for a new account, your password manager will suggest a strong password – and then, remember it for you. As long as you remember your “master password” to log in to the password manager, it will automatically fill in your credentials when you visit the login page of a website or app.
2FA: An additional layer of security
If any of your accounts prompt you to set up two-factor authentication (2FA) after logging in, do it. 2FA enhances the security to your accounts and makes it more difficult for hackers to gain unauthorized access. If anyone manages to get your password and tries to login from an unrecognized device (i.e. any phone or computer that you haven’t ever used to access the account before) 2FA will send a one-time confirmation code via text message or email. Without that code, the account stays locked. On top of that, the confirmation code works as an instant alert that someone is trying to access your account – so you can change your password immediately.
Support Cybersecurity at Miami Jewish Health
Did you know that your charitable gift can support cybersecurity measures at Miami Jewish Health? The Renew initiative of our THRIVE campaign seeks to proactively safeguard our community against digital threats by following federal government recommendations for securing sensitive data against cyber-attacks. This helps us to enhance prevention, protection, response, and recovery measures for the optimal safety of our patients, residents, visitors, and team members. Contact us to learn how you can contribute to the THRIVE campaign and customize your gift to support the Renew initiative.