Spoiler alert – start using a password manager and enable multi-factor authentication.

That’s it, that’s the whole blog post. 

If you’ve been meaning to do those things for a while, now is the time and today is the day.  A reputable password manager (like Dashlane, LastPass, or 1Password) can greatly enhance the security of your online accounts while also making things much easier for you.  Their ability to generate and store different, random, strong passwords for each of your online accounts means that you’re much more secure.  And your life is easier because you don’t have to remember or enter the individual passwords–all you need to remember is the master password to access the manager.  Additional benefits include auto-fill of payment and address information, along with monitoring for potential password compromise.  I have been using one for years, and I can’t recommend them highly enough.

Another smart move is to enable multi-factor authentication on your most sensitive accounts, like email, social media, financial, and health.  Multi-factor authentication is an additional verification of your identity, and generally it’s a randomly generated code that you enter in addition to your password.  It can be delivered via text message or, preferably, it’s from an app on your phone. 

Regardless of how it’s delivered, multi-factor authentication means that a bad actor needs more than just your password to access an account.  Enabling multi-factor authentication usually means diving into the security or privacy settings of a specific online account, and I recommend searching “multi-factor authentication [name of service]” e.g., “multi-factor authentication Facebook,” to find out how to enable it for a specific site.  If you’re using your new password manager and saving new, different, passwords for all your accounts, you can enable multi-factor authentication at the same time and really improve your security!

What do both of these have in common?  They make it harder for hackers to access your accounts and in some cases, they even make life easier!  While no system is foolproof, this makes your information harder to steal and makes it more likely that an attacker will move on to an easier target.

If there are only two security recommendations that I can make, it’s to use multi-factor authentication and use a password manager.  Make your life easier and the bad guy’s life harder–sounds like a win-win to me!

Team Hewins, LLC (“Team Hewins”) is an SEC-registered investment adviser; however, such registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training, and no inference to the contrary should be made. We provide this information with the understanding that we are not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or tax services. We recommend that all investors seek out the services of competent professionals in any of the aforementioned areas. Opinions expressed in this blog are solely of the author and interviewee and not of the firm.

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