Fix Your Passwords
or Start Planting Rutabagas
By: Nate Porter
If you use the internet at all (which I suppose you must since you are reading this right now), then you probably also have a few passwords to remember. One for the bank, one for Amazon, a couple for your email accounts—and only a few … hundred others.
With so many passwords to remember, many people (not you or I, but other people) use the same password for multiple websites. Their one password has also got to be fairly easy to remember, and why shouldn't it be? If it's not easy to remember, then it's easy to forget, right?
Here's the problem with passwords: passwords that are easy to remember are usually also easy for the bad guys to guess. Additionally, if we are hacked (or more likely, tricked / scammed / phished), and our one password is exposed, now the crooks don't have access to one of our accounts, they have access to all of them! You may retort, "That won't be me, I've never fallen for online trickery!" That's fine. I believe you. Me neither. Not once.
Regrettably, however, even if we keep our one password completely safe, we can’t count on every website to be as impervious to subterfuge as folks like us are. It's the hard truth, but passwords are stolen, or leaked, or mishandled all the time. So, really, seriously(!)—every site you use must have a unique password, and your passwords must be strong (resulting from some combination of randomness, length, and/or complexity).
So, what's the answer? I only see two options:
Go off the grid, live off the land, and start planting hearty winter root vegetables to sustain you through those hard Pacific Northwest winters. If you choose this option, I recommend cultivating rutabagas —a personal favorite. Or, maybe…
Utilize a Password Manager
Password managers will retain all of your passwords for you. Also, they will enter your login information for the website for you. This means that you don't have to commit any of your new, unique, complex passwords to memory. This means that you'll only need to remember two passwords ever again: one to log into your computer, and your "Master Password" to unlock your password manager. Installing a password manager seems to be the logical choice here — and so that's what I've done for me and my family. In case you were wondering, that's also what SoundView has done firm-wide.
There are numerous password management applications out there, and no, they are not all created equal. At SoundView Advisors (SVA), we recommend our clients install LastPass. It's simple to use, it's incredibly secure, it will work across every device you own, and—here's the kicker—it's free.
If you'd like to know more about password management software, and how best to utilize it, let us know. You have an entire team of operations professionals at SVA who would love nothing more than to nerd out with you on this topic. We're here to serve you, and we savor every opportunity we have to do so. You’re not going to be bothering us. Typically, we only get to talk to our computer screens; human interaction is a big win.
In summary: install a password manager, learn it, and use it—and then plant some rutabagas anyway. They're delicious AND nutritious.