3 tips for protecting your passwords, emails and home network

Logins and passwords

Password protectionQ. Where is the best place to keep all the logins and passwords for all the accounts I manage?

A. The first answer is don’t! Ideally, you should never record IDs and passwords in the clear, anywhere! Use password keepers like LastPass, Dashlane, or 1Password. If you must record them in the clear do not store them in the same file or in the same order. And, don’t name the files Logins or Passwords. You can use an index number to match up what ID goes with which password. Even then, leave something out or change something in the password that only you would know, like adding or removing a symbol or exchanging a letter. Better yet, come up with a password scheme that you can remember. For example, you could use a keyboard pattern, with designated symbol or capital letter placement. It’s easier than you think!

Home office

Home networkQ. I work part of my hours at home. Can people hack into my home network?

A. The short answer is yes. There are a few solutions that can provide you some additional peace of mind. First of all, use current and updated software for all of your work. Your operating system, your applications, utilities, all should be set to upgrade automatically. This ensures that any required security patches are installed in a timely manner. Secondly, use a newer router. Older routers use a protocol that is highly hackable, WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access). Newer ones use WPA-2. Also, change the password that shipped with your router. It’s only logical that the password on the router label is known by the company that put the label on it!

Ask your organization to furnish you with a virtual private network (VPN) or secure hot spot. Don’t choose one they’re not familiar with. It could look like you’re trying to hide who you are when you connect to your work network. Be sure your computer uses a screen lock password so that anyone who might be in your home wouldn’t just be able to log on and see what you’re up to. Most importantly, do not allow family members to use the computer that you use for work. They may inadvertently download a game or app that puts the security of your system in jeopardy.

Move mail

Q. I’ve got email messages on my work computer that should be on my home computer because they’re personal. How should I do that? I use Outlook 2013.

A. Well, my first suggestion is to be sure that it’s OK with your organization. Depending on your company’s acceptable use policy, you may or may not be permitted to do it. If you are, then my recommendation is that you put all email you intend to move into a single folder. Then, click File, Open & Export, Import/Export, then follow the steps to export to either a .csv or a .pst. Either can be imported into another email application.