Can't remember your password? Tips on keeping your data secure.

March 1, 2018

We’ve all been there. You get a notification from the local CSA to place an online payment for this year’s upcoming share. You remember what email you used to log in, but can’t remember your password. Was it ‘PearlJam1’ or ‘PearlJam#1’? Was it a different band? Different number? You click ‘forgot password’ and type in your email. ‘Sorry, we can’t recognize this email.’ ‘Wait… what?’ Is it the wrong email? Maybe you wrote it down somewhere?

In 2016 LinkedIn 167 million email addresses and passwords were exposed. These passwords were initially hacked in 2012 and were put up for sale on the dark market. In 2013 153 million Adobe accounts were hacked again with usernames and passwords. Experian had a data breach in 2015 that affected 15 million users who had applied for financing through T-Mobile. It The breach would include credit status information, dates of birth, email addresses, phone numbers and other compromising details. Many other companies have had similar breaches.

You may have received an email from one of these companies urging you to change your password and opt for two-factor authentication. I received one from Adobe, LinkedIn, and I recently was issued a new ATM card because of a breach. It’s becoming more and more common.

One problem that arises when breaches like this happen is that many of us use the same password for all of our online accounts. Our password is the same for twitter, facebook, bank, email, etc. Leading to a situation where a password compromised from one website can be used to access many of the other sites and services we use. Luckily there are some tools and guidelines to help minimize the impact of these breaches.

Using a password manager like 1password can help minimize the impact of data breaches.

Find out of any of your passwords have been compromised:

There’s a good chance one an older password of yours has been compromised. is a website that checks your password against a list of 4 Billion accounts that have been known to be compromised. If your password is on this list, never use that password again.

Watch out for phishing.

Watch out for emails asking you to log-in before they terminate your account. Be skeptical of calls from companies that request your username and password for your account. Even things that seem harmless, like letting a stranger use your phone, can result in compromised data.

Don’t over-share

We all share parts of our lives online, and generally, that’s a great thing. But keep in mind that if the security questions to access your account are your pet’s name and your wedding anniversary, it’s a good idea not to share that part of your life.

Get a password manager

Password managers like LastPass and 1Passwordhave become great tools in helping keep your data secure. A password manager is a software that generates strong random passwords and stores them securely across your devices. Since the data is encrypted, you can also secure credit card numbers, PDFs of your important documents, secure notes, etc. To access this data, you must use a password that is complicated, secure and that only you know. The upside is that you just need to remember one password. 1Password also offers family accounts so you can keep the whole family secure.

More of our data is online, and there will be more breaches. It may seem like a chore to keep your passwords secure but doing a little bit of work and preparation can save you from having your data public and for sale.

-by Sergio Enciso