3 simple steps to making your site more secure, right here, right now
Although cyber security has become much more sophisticated in recent years, so too has the ability for people to hack into sites. Security for your site, and thus your business, is paramount, whether you have a small or large business or just a personal blog. Hackers aren’t just getting into websites to steal sensitive data (although this is a huge concern), but they can also hijack your site to relay spam or just disrupt regular service.
We’ve all heard the horror stories of sites like Yahoo and Deloitte being hacked and having users’ personal information stolen. Just last year, major security breaches included hackers attacking Facebook – gaining access to 30 million users sensitive data, including profile information, personal messages, and friend networks – as well as Cathay Pacific – where, horrifyingly, over 9 million passengers’ passport numbers, identity numbers, and expired and current credit card numbers were accessed without authorisation.
In short : You Really Need To Take Passwords Seriously
Keeping your website up and running, un compromised by data breaches or the need to switch to a new server, is obviously a priority for you (and us). While there are a number of ways to ensure security for your site, including regular software updates and backing up your site frequently, one of the easiest ways to increase security is to just change your password.
Step 1. Create a strong password
How many times have you been told to create a strong password? Too many, you may say. But the logic behind this common advice is sound. One way hackers get into computers, websites, or personal accounts is literally by just guessing passwords. If you have a simple, commonly used password, the likelihood that a random hacker can guess your password increases dramatically. However, if you have a strong, complex password, hackers are going to find it hard to guess and probably just move on to the next target if yours is too difficult.
What makes a password strong?
- Length Your password should be, at the very least, 8 characters long, but it’s generally recommended to have 10 characters or more.
- Combinations Make sure your passwords contain a combination of different characters, including upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and punctuations signs/symbols.
- Complexity Strong passwords aren’t just long words; the more random and complex your password is, the stronger it is. Try to stay clear of using full words or names with dates, and always make sure to have unique passwords for each account or log in.
While there are password-generating websites everywhere, another way to create (and remember) a strong password is to connect it to a sentence. For instance, if you just moved to a new city and you’re opening an account somewhere, perhaps one of your new passwords could be linked to the place and time, albeit, very obscurely. Say you just moved to London in the autumn of 2018 and now live in a two-bedroom flat. Your password could mirror that story in some way:
While this password is linked to your life in some way, the chances of someone guessing the exact combination of letters and symbols is pretty small. It might take you some time to remember though. If you’re not so good at memorising strings of characters, write the password down somewhere and look at it for a week or two before it’s memorised. Note: keep this piece of paper safe and throw it away once the password is stuck in your head.
Step 2. Never forget your passwords again
Cool, so now you’ve made a whole host of snazzy, story-based, strong passwords. Maybe you’ve even managed to find a trick to remember a few of them. But how on earth are you going to remember them all? Luckily, you don’t have to.
LastPass is a free password manager that stores your encrypted passwords online. It works either as a web interface, a browser extension, or a smartphone app. All you have to do is remember one password, and then Lastpass remembers the rest for you.
How it works
Once you sign up for LastPass, and create an amazingly strong master password, you just need to enter your login details for the various different sites that you use just once. From then on, LastPass can autologin to your chosen sites, sync your passwords as you need, or just store them in your secure, searchable vault. You can add credit card details for faster payments, documents you want to keep secure, bank account details, passport numbers – you name it, you can store it in a LastPass vault and search for it whenever you need.
Step 3. Keep your sites secure, wherever you are, whomever you’re with
As well as storing all those things you want to keep secure, LastPass also allows you to share passwords with people you select. Working on a new website and want your designer to have full access? Share the password via LastPass and then revoke access once the project is complete. This also means you can share passwords for commonly used sites (we’re talking Netflix, Spotify and the like) with your family and friends.
As a cloud-only based service, LastPass’ secure vaults are therefore accessible to you wherever you are, on whatever device. Unlike other password managers that store data locally, with LastPass, not only can you have access to the App on your phone, but you can also log into the webpage from any device and gain access to the things you need.
Another incredibly useful feature of LastPass is that it can generate passwords for you, and will even challenge the security of your existing passwords. LastPass will audit your passwords, and recommend changes based on whether they are weak, old, or reused. It also offers multi-factor authentication and LastPass authentication.
While the basic version of LastPass is free, there are also a number of other pricing packages to choose from that gives users greater ability to share, gain emergency access, have priority tech support, or even create a family manager dashboard.
Finally, and most importantly, is LastPass safe?
LastPass has consistently ranked as one of the world’s most trusted and recommended password managers. Not only does it provide features that keep your other logins more secure (by challenging your passwords and automatically changing passwords as needed), it is also incredibly secure in itself. It’s so secure, in fact, that employees of Lastpass couldn’t even access your data if you asked them to. The information you enter into LastPass is encrypted with AES-256 encryption, which is the US government’s standard encryption for classified data. Safe to say, it’s probably rather secure. LastPass also offers regular updates to ensure their software is working to the best of its ability.