- We need unique passwords for all of the websites we visit—including where we bank and invest online.
- We need a simple, secure way to keep track of all of these passwords.
- Software may be a solution for password management.
Don’t the experts suggest that you have unique passwords for every website you visit, including your online banking and investment accounts? Yes, and we have previously written about the importance of unique passwords. But passwords have become the bane of the modern world. While passwords are necessary, the sheer number of unique ones we’re required to have in order to be good, secure cyber citizens can be overwhelming. As a result, we tend to use simple, easy-to-remember “systems” that actually compromise our security.
For example, many people keep a list of their passwords on a piece of paper in their desk drawer. Others keep a list of passwords in the notepad app of their smart phone (which, by the way, also has no password security). While others use the same simple password for multiple websites, which makes it very easy for a hacker to break into many of your accounts at once.
The solution to this problem is to have our smart phones, tablets, and computers scan our fingerprints or the irises of our eyes to verify our identities. Unfortunately, we aren’t quite there yet. But, there are current solutions that should tide us over until this technology reaches mainstream consumers.
There are a handful of software programs that keep track of all of your passwords for all of your devices simultaneously. Best yet, these programs only require you to remember one password! These programs are integrated into your web browser, your smart phone and your tablet, and many will sync across all of these tools. So all you have to do is create one very strong password, which will be the key to unlocking all of your other passwords. In my case, I have one very strong password that opens a vault of 254 passwords, all unique, for all of the websites I visit. What happens if someone gets your master password? The software I use, Dashlane, won’t let someone unlock my passwords on a new device without first entering an ever-changing code that it sends directly to my phone or email. Some other cloud security software programs include 1Password, LastPass and PasswordBox. These program all range in cost from $12 to $50 per year.
Finally, you might be asking yourself, why is my wealth management firm writing about passwords? Today, our entire financial lives and personal lives are on the web. Risk management is a cornerstone of our wealth management process, and improving our security in the digital age is of paramount importance to preserving your wealth. The security of our client’s information is something we take very seriously here at Independence Advisors, and we encourage you to do the same.