Monday, June 12, 2017

Protecting Your Personal Information: It is Increasingly Important

Lock & ChainIn March, Jason Griffey wrote a blog post entitled "Personal International Infosec" after he had traveled between the U.S. and Bahrain. Given the current trend of governments checking a traveler's computing devices, Griffey decided to ensure that no one could learn anything if they checked his.  In his blog post, Griffey' lays out exactly what he did and why.  It is definitely worth a read.

We use password to protect our identification and our intellectual property. I had been relaxed in ensuring that may passwords were strong and protected. Like many people, I had a method for creating passwords that made them memorable for me. And like many people, I had a list of passwords and IDs, although it was not up-to-date.  Reading his post, I realized that it was time for me to get my act together and use a password manager, like 1Password, and I did.

I've had three surprises from using a password manager.  First, a password manager is easy to use (and I'm using 1Password).  It is easy to enter ID and password information.  It will even generate new passwords, and I like that.  Now every password can be unique (for real!).

Second, it has not slowed me down.  In fact, having all of my passwords in one location stops me from search high-and-low for that password I don't remember or generating a new password because I can't remember the old one. I have a lot of passwords!  I knew I had a lot of them, but they really weren't all in one location and they were not written down.  I am still discovering IDs and passwords that I need to place into my manager, including passwords that need to be made more secure.

While I've been talking here about your personal information, having a way of securing your organization's information is also important.  Yes, think about securing your passwords and also those of your organization.

If you have not read anything about using a password manager and are interested in securing your ID (or intellectual property), here are some articles to start with:
Please note that some password managers are free, while others require a subscription.  I have colleagues who are using free password managers and they like them.  I decided to use 1Password, which has a 30-day free trial and then a yearly subscription fee.  My decision was not based on in-depth research, but based on what Jason Griffey selected (someone whom I know and trust).  You might do research and decide on something totally different, and that is okay.  What is no longer okay is having passwords that could be easily guessed or listing them on slips of paper (or someplace online that is not secure.  It is time to secure your identity and your intellectual property.

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