Secure Your Logins: Password Managers and Two-Factor Authentication

Can you completely protect yourself from being hacked? I’m afraid not, but developing a couple of basic security habits around your passwords and logins can add a powerful layer of protection. 

Password Managers

You already know you shouldn’t reuse passwords, who can remember several dozen different logins for all of your online services?

LastPass Example

It turns out, you don’t need to remember all of the passwords on your own.  Instead, you can use a password manager like LastPass, 1Password, or KeePass to safely store your passwords securely and access them anywhere.  These services will even generate secure passwords for you, then store them so you don’t need to memorize random numbers and letters.

Two-Factor Authentication

LastPass Two-Factor AuthenticationUsing two-factor authentication (also known as TFA) also helps protect your accounts from hackers.  When you log in to an account using TFA, you’ll not only need your password but another way to prove your identity – kind of like using your PIN number when you take money out of an ATM.   For example, if you are using LastPass with TFA, you can install an authentication app on your smartphone and use that app to prove who you are.  

Here’s a TFA – Yahoo/Flickr – that doesn’t use a code – you just have to have your app open to approve your login (It’s Yahoo):

 

Many other online services, like iCloud, offer TFA.  Some services will send a text to your phone with additional information you need to enter before you log in. Many services use a special smartphone app for authentication.  For some services, you can even specialized hardware like YubiKey –  USB keys that can be used to prove your identity when security is most vital.

YubiKey

 

About Debbie Ginsberg

Debbie is the Educational Technology Librarian at the Chicago-Kent College of Law.
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