Online Banks, electronic mails, dates on the cloud, social web sites, gadgets and home appliances with Internet connection… The digital revolution is here. Suddenly, we are involved in a cyber-society, and this situation will increase exponentially in the next years.
In front of that we must take care to avoid that someone takes and manages our profiles, dates, and contracted services on the net. Thieves, kidnappers, swindlers are on the Internet too.
This panorama forces people to learn a few rules and strategies about behavior on the Net and the new reality that is being built. We are going to talk about that separately by three fields.
First of all, we can find bank applications, bank websites, or contactless payments at shops. In most cases a PIN with 4, 5 or 6 numbers is needed. Companies implement processes with a double verification (like a second PIN, sent to our mobile phone in each transaction). But our first PIN is our first protection.
This code must never contain a date of our profile (birthday, etc.), neither a date of our close family. These kind of numbers are easy to discover. Customers must invent a PIN code unrelated to them and try to remember it. Sometimes a bank requires codes with different length, depending on the service (ATM, website, etc.). A useful trick is to create a long PIN (6 characters, for example) and use the first four, five or six as needed
ATM keyboards have numbers and letters. If we want to remember it easily, we can match a word with 6 letters with the numbers on the bottoms. For example, the word “vendel” generate the PIN 836335.
Our dairy life… on the net
Secondly, we are focusing our attention on e-mail, Facebook, Twitter,… passwords.
A lot of people use the same password for all tools or services. In Most cases you need to register on a social platform o service through an e-mail. If you use the same password and there is a security failure on one of these, all your registrations are in danger! (check your current password) Online companies don’t offer a full security (read it, and it too). It is true that nobody can remember all the arbitrary passwords, because usually we are registered in dozens of websites and apps. In this case, we can create a protocol to remember passwords as much as necessary.
Online services require symbols, uppercase and lowercase letters and numbers, with a minimum of 6 characters. So, we are going to create a password with:
- 1st letter of the contracted service, app or program.
- A noun (not related with you and not widely used), starting and finishing with capital letter.
- A symbol.
- A number.
I’m going to use the name of Ivendel (Rivendel without first letter), the symbols # (typical in all keyboards), and the number 951. It’ll be aplied in Facebook with the following password: FIvendel#951, or in Twitter: TIvendel#951
Moreover, If a specific service becomes insecure and you have to change your password, you can add a final rule: Add number two on the beginning (2FIvendel#951) o change the used noun by another (Rivendel→ Fangorn: FAngorn#951)
You decide the complexity of the protocol… The more complex the more secure… And difficult to remember. Anyway, independently of the complexity any strategy will be better than the same password in every service.
Thirdly, we must consider the security for accessing our devices: laptops, tablets, mobile phones, etc. Our devices contain a part of our lives. Do you leave the door of your house open? No, right? The same behavior must be done on our laptops, mobile phones, etc.
The most of devices admit written passwords, numeric or alphanumeric ones. Even some of them use biometric passwords, but they have to be escorted by a written password. In that case you have two easy options:
a) Create a PIN Number, like in bank applications. Don’t use the same, of course!
b) Follow the strategy created for Internet services. Laptop with Windows: Wivendel#951. Mobile with Android: Aivendel#951.
Accessing to the Internet… around the world
Finally, we shouldn’t use public WiFi (airport, restaurant o hotel WiFi services) for “sensitive activities”, such as accessing our bank app. Do you need it? Use roaming services in your mobile, or an encrypted VPN on a public WiFi (What’s VPN?). Do you definitely need to access the Internet from a computer of a hotel? First check if a antivirus is running and updated, then use private navigation on the browser.
Any clear idea?
In conclusion, we are using a lot of services, so change your password in every different place. How? A long PIN for banks and a protocol for passwords, cover a wide variety of situations. A small initial effort, with a plan, produces a safe behavior on the Internet.
Come on! Whatever little efford will be better than follow with the same password.