Security and passwords aren’t a technical IQ test (Audio)

When it comes to your passwords and online security, common sense and awareness often trump technology.

Does that surprise or shock you? As you’ll soon hear, it isn’t nearly as controversial as it may seem.

I enjoyed listening to a short chat with Urban Schrott, ESET Ireland’s IT Security & Cybercrime Analyst, on Irish radio station Near FM 90.3 and I think you’ll like it, too.

Mr Schrott does a very nice job of laying out basic security concepts that are often ignored by people who believe that online security depends solely on a technology solution/product. For these folks, anything goes once they’ve installed an antivirus program and maybe a few other security products.

click, Click, CLICK! (insert your own ebullient, slightly sinister laugh here)

For them, their own choices and online behavior play a limited role in their own security. It’s all about the technology – about which they typically know very little.

The flip side is also true: too many people think they aren’t technically savvy enough to play a role in their own online security. These folks will shy away from putting in even the minimum effort to get tools that will help protect them because they think they won’t know how to use them, or that they’ll choose the wrong ones.

But, even though they avoid software and other tools that could help protect them, they click along with their cousins from above.

click, Click, CLICK! (insert you own sad, uneasy laugh here)

Either way, the result is an overall lack of security online. The thing is, it’s not how much you know about technology, as much as how you approach security, that will keep you safe.

In 14 minutes, Mr Schrott makes only glancing mentions of technology; he focuses on how we approach security. A few highlights from the talk:

  • Unique is good! Each account deserves its own password.
  • Be skeptical! It’s always good to be on the lookout. You’re first thought should be “is this a scam?” If you aren’t sure if something is a scam, pick up the phone and ring the company to see if the email/popup is from them.
  • Any unsolicited calls or email can be a potential scam. If you keep this in mind, you can very easily unmask most of them.
  • If you get a call from a company claiming that there’s something wrong on your computer, just ask them, “what’s my name.” Calls and popups of this type are common, but they are typically scams.
  • Stay informed. By knowing what threats are out there, you will be in a better position to make the right decisions when it comes to your own security.

Sticky Password recommends using a password manager to manage all you unique passwords and passphrases. In addition to creating and remembering your passwords for you, Sticky Password will fill in online forms for you.