Social networks, messaging, banks, online businesses, administrations, business networks – everything, almost everything is online today, and most of the time it is linked to a password. Certainly, some services or web giants such as Google, Apple and Microsoft are taking some steps towards “no password”, by allowing connection through an SMS or email code, a USB security key or an application. This is called “multi-factor authentication” or “two-step verification.” But these are some rare exceptions: passwords continue to reign supreme on the web.
Problem: we use too many services, too many mobile applications, too many social networks. To protect your accounts, we recommend that you use a different password for each platform. For example, you are supposed to create and then use a different and unique password for Facebook / Instagram, Gmail / YouTube, Twitter, Outlook, Netflix, Amazon, Twitch … And of course, change all those passwords regularly, on average every 3 months, so they don’t end up on a list of hacked and “compromised” accounts somewhere on the dark web. And finally, memorize everything.
Why do you need to protect your accounts in this way? In the face of such complexity, it is of course tempting to use the same password everywhere, or to use just a few variations. But beware. As the CNIL judiciously reminds us, “if your social network provider is the victim of a data breach, including your means of authentication, a malicious person could use them not only to access your social network account but also to access your mail box”. . Also, once your mailbox has been accessed, it is possible to view the list of messages to subscribe to your accounts on different sites (if you have not deleted them from your mailbox). “This lets you know some of your account credentials and use the forgotten password feature to control them.”
Why protecting your accounts is essential
In other words, if someone finds the password you use everywhere, that person can access all of your accounts, everywhere. Which means that person has access to your entire digital life. The risks then are that you see your identity theft, your hijacked bank accounts, your photos / messages / personal documents stolen … In short, a nice little nightmare.
And yet … “Despite the many identifier leaks, consequences of cyberattacks, and despite the recommendations of the CNIL, the French are still far from creating a different password for each of their online accounts,” he says. A study carried out by a specialist in Onfido’s identity verification was carried out in April 2021. Thus, according to this survey, only 19% of French Internet users regularly play and change the passwords of each platform. Worse still, many still use passwords like “123456” or “azerty”.
Given this, you may have decided to take matters into your own hands. Using, for example, a “strong” (encrypted) password, such as LastPass, 1Password, Keeper, or NordPass. This password manager can help you to store and manage the connection data of your devices safely and without the worry of forgetting your credentials. You may have also decided to use 2-Step Verification.
But if you’re a mom or dad, share your devices or accounts with your family, or telecommute on a personal device at home, things can get complicated quickly. Because if those around you do not adopt the same rigor as you, it is very possible that the security of your devices or your accounts will be weakened. Finally, simply put, you probably never want your spouse or child to get hacked. But sadly, this can happen very well.
So it can be interesting to share the same password manager with people close to you. Even paying for a subscription to use the “familiar” version of 1Password. But even in this case, it happens that their relatives are reluctant to use such a tool, or they use it badly, because of disinterest or because the system seems too complex to use. It’s actually quite common, and even IT security experts find themselves struggling with it. At Wired, Tom Alessi, an information systems engineer and cybersecurity expert, explains, for example, that he has never managed to “convert” his wife and teenage children into MacPass, a password manager. Free and open source, compatible with KeePass for macOS. .
Show the way
Fortunately, there are several techniques to convince your loved ones, without harassing them. The first is simply showing the way and making others want to follow in your footsteps. Everything delicately. For example, install your family password manager, use it and when your child or spouse asks you what the credentials of the shared Netflix account are, just answer that the answer is in Dashlane / 1Password / Keepass / LastPass. Over time, you will probably end up getting used to this tool, even storing your own passwords in it.
“The best way to get family members to use a password manager is to take small steps, securely sharing popular accounts, such as streaming services or news subscriptions. Your family may see immediate interest in using a password manager. passwords (they will have the password), and more than likely they will start to change their forms, ”confirms Dashlane CEO JD Sherman.
Simplify your task
Instead of imposing on your loved ones the (perhaps tedious in your eyes) task of juggling settings and regularly saving their changed passwords, offer to automate things and keep the technical “administrator” role busy. A kind of CIO, but at home, who will take care of everything “technical” (or perceived as such). Your entourage has only one thing to worry about: remembering the “master” password, which allows them to (re) start the software and thus automatically save any new passwords. Obviously, it is the same principle for the “master” password that allows you to activate the iCloud keychain or the Google Chrome password manager.
Obviously, the simplest way is still to educate those around you, for example by explaining everything I have developed at the beginning of the article. Take the time to explain the risks of identity theft, identity theft, hacking … The idea is not to scare and traumatize them in the face of digital technology, but simply to make them aware of the risks they run. Secure accounts represent for your privacy and your personal data.
And if that really doesn’t work, technology columnist Isidra Mencos advises directly on Wired, don’t hesitate to consider resorting to… financial incentives. No, it is not about bribing teenagers, but simply resorting to the well-known technique of reward education.
“I would like my son to use the password manager regularly, so maybe I will do what I did in the past to encourage him to do something nice for him: give him $ 20 to sit with me for an hour and record / change his passwords. If I’m willing to shell out tens of thousands of dollars for your education, why not spend a little to help protect your most sensitive information? In my opinion, the investment is worth it. “
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