AT Newsletter Volume 35, February 2023

Security, Fraud and Passwords, Oh My!

It is hard to believe we are almost two months into the year.  I knew the month was almost complete when I received my friendly reminder from Lisa - "Time for your article!"  This time I'd like to cover a topic I normally reserve for Ben - security. Several years ago I received a quite shocking letter from the Illinois Department of Employment Security. To my surprise, they informed me I had been "laid off" and a debit card with my benefits was on the way. After numerous phone calls, emails and certified letters, I was able to correct everything. Apparently someone in Pennsylvania was kindly filing for me and there had been a large uptick in this type of activity. Due to the fraudulent claim, an agent from the IDES recommended I change all of my passwords. What?!?! Did he know how many passwords I had to change? It was time for me to step up my personal security and password management. I had used 1Password for years but only sparingly. If you aren't using a password manager I would highly recommend 1Password. It took me about a month but I updated every password (with complex passwords) and enabled Multi-factor authentication when available. Here are a few of my favorite features/benefits of 1Password:

  • Family account and vaults - I subscribe to the family plan allowing my wife and kids to all have their own accounts. Everyone has their own "vaults" for their personal items. But we also share a vault for the non-critical logins.
  • Browser Extensions and iPhone integration - with these two features I can seamlessly login to any of my accounts easily.
  • Whenever I create a new password I let 1Password do it for me. I end up with incredibly long and complex passwords.
  • Credit Cards - 1Password stores my credit card details and with the browser extension it makes online shopping a breeze (okay maybe this isn't a good thing).
  • Watchtower - this is my personal security scorecard. It tells me which passwords have been reused, are weak or even possibly compromised. I periodically review this and update the offenders.
There are so many other great features of 1Password and there are many great alternatives. Please drop me an email if you have any questions.

Note: 1Password's enterprise edition (for businesses) allows all employees to receive the family edition for free.