Don’t Talk to Strangers: Being Secure in an Insecure World

Before I get into this article, I would like to touch on how I became such a nerd.

Back in the early nineties, and stop me if you’ve heard this one, my dad bought the family a Commodore 64 for Christmas, and two things happened.

One, my wife scratched that date forever in my memory as the day I went to the dark side, and two, my life-long fascination with computers and all things electronic was born.

As I have always told people I am not an expert or professionally trained, but my passion for tech has led me to fervently research any problem that I needed to teach myself about. I still do this to this date when someone asks for help with a tech question, or for my own education, using years of trial and error and troubleshooting. (Don’t believe everything you read on the internet!)

It served me well in my career with the school board when I was asked to develop training for a group for whom computers were like foreign objects and quite intimidating.

I pride myself on starting many down the path to the dark side, using my wife’s analogy, to learn how to use these tools to their benefit.

So on to today’s topic….

My wife and I live in an adult lifestyle community, and while many of the people I have helped with tech advice are knowledgeable, some are still novices and vulnerable to fraud and the perils of the digital world.

One of my missions is to try to convince everyone I visit to abandon the habit of keeping lists of passwords on sheets of paper or recipe cards!

Laptop with post-it notes

I try to emphasise that all it takes is for one bad actor to break in and see those sheets of paper on the table or in the desk drawer announcing “MY BANK ACCOUNT INFORMATION”, or other sensitive information, that could spell disaster in the wrong hands.

Using tools like a password manager for your passwords and all the other information that you want to keep private is essential in today’s big bad world.

I personally have been using a program called 1Password for several years. With it I store not only all my passwords for different web sites, but also all of my sensitive information in secure notes, that can only be opened and accessed by me, with the ONE MASTER password (as the name implies).

Of course, there are others that are good as well, such as Last Pass, Dashlane, Nordpass and more.

If you are a Mac, iPhone, or iPad user, and use Safari, Apple’s Keychain does an admirable job of saving log-in and password information and it is secure and encrypted.

With new technology even that goes a step further and doesn’t require me to type in a long password but will open with my fingerprint or my face! Isn’t technology marvelous!

I have also put all this information and app on my wife’s phone along with our credit card info, wills and important papers so she or our kids can access it all if ever the need arose.

Now I know what you’re thinking. “Ron, isn’t having only ONE password against all the rules that they’re always trying to teach us?
Bank Vault

That’s the genius of this type of software.

You only have to ever remember your MASTER (ONE) password, and the program generates long cryptic passwords, of up to 30 characters or more, and all your logins, to replace things like your cat’s name or your birthday or crazy passwords like “password” that crooks can easily guess.

It takes a bit of work on your part at the beginning, but is so worth it for the peace of mind, knowing something like HwBA8@tapwribRz4aatCPqNT is so much better than fido or may254 for your precious information.

I got off topic a bit in this article. I orginally intended to speak about all thing’s security in the digital world, but that’s something we can get into further in future articles. The step toward making your day-to-day passwords and sensitive info much more secure and less vulnerable to fraud and attack is a great place to start.

I’m Captain iPad

Written by

Ron’s love for all things electronic, especially computers, and more recently, Apple products, stems back to the early 90’s when the family was gifted a Commodore 64, and the nerdiness took hold. Using the knowledge he has gleaned over the years through self-taught methods, and experience over his career in computer training, Ron has landed in a niche where he can help others now in retirement with learning all about their tech.