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Secure Your Online Life

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If you have an account with Zappos, the popular online shoe and clothing retailer, you were one of 24 million people exposed in last week’s hacker attack on the site. If you were a victim, it is important for you to take steps to protect yourself right away. If you were not, this should act as a reminder to stay vigilant and work to protect yourself against identity theft online.

It is important to note that only partial credit card numbers and encrypted passwords were accessed, not full passwords or credit cards. However, full names, addresses, phone numbers, and emails were access in the attack.

Unique Passwords

I have a unique password for almost every single website I use. Each password is a randomized alpha-numeric 15 character password. If I don’t know them, they are nearly impossible to guess and a brute force attack would be a waste of time. In other words, I am secure.

I have a level of security in the range of 96 bit to 128 bit security. What is important, though, is that I use a different password for each site. If one gets hacked, I am still safe on every other website.

Remembering these passwords is impossible. There is no way to remember one of them, let alone all of them. So how do I do it? I use Lastpass to manage my passwords. That password is the last one I ever had to remember.

Lastpass is a password security application that can generate, remember, and fill in your passwords for virtually any site you use. It is incredibly secure and is free and easy to use with Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, and Opera. It works on Windows, Mac, and Linux. For an extra fee ($12 per year), you can also use it on your Android, iOS, Blackberry, or Windows Phone mobile device.

Not having different passwords across sites is plain stupid. Not having secure passwords is pretty dumb too. You might as well take advantage of this free option and have unique and secure passwords. It could save you a huge hassle and a ton of money if someone tries to steal your identity in the future.

Shop with Credit Cards

If you use a debit card or bank ACH payments to pay online, you are exposing yourself to a big risk. If someone steals those numbers and make a fraudulent purchase, you lose access to that money until the problem is fixed, if ever.

If you use a credit card, you are automatically protected from fraudulent purchases. Check your account rules for details, but I know that my Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express, British Airways Visa, and other cards all protect me from fraud.

Do It Today

Do not wait until you have a problem to fix your online security. Secure your passwords with Lastpass today and make sure to only shop secure in the future. Be smart, not a victim.

What strategies do you use to protect yourself online? Have you ever been a victim of online fraud? Please share in the comments.

Image by Don Hankins.

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