Spring Clean Your Passwords

In all your Spring cleaning, don’t forget to do your digital spring cleaning! A good place to start is this inbox spring clean I shared a few years back. And this year as part of the U.S. Cellular Blogger Brigade, I am sharing smart ways to help improve your password habits. and bed are to take some time to update your tech agreement with your kids. Don’t have one? You can download a Parent/Child Agreement here.

Spring Clean

If you have bad password habits, take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone! According to a Harris Interactive survey, more than half of Americans realize they need to change their password habits.
Among the password habits that need attention are reusing passwords and creating weak passwords, such as your dog’s name, 12345 or password123.

When it comes to protecting valuable information, those passwords share common patterns, creating vulnerability across the various accounts we all use every day, ranging from the ones that need to be most secure, like bank and credit cards, to social media sites or free subscriptions. If one account gets hacked, all accounts sharing the same password and email are at much greater risk.

With many accounts prompting and requiring stronger passwords, including a combination of letters, capitalization, numbers and characters, password management apps can really help. And they can enhance and simplify the user’s life share similar features, such as auto-creation of complex passwords, auto-fill of forms and encryption of information for safety.

That’s helpful considering a recent Harris Interactive survey that indicates 59 percent of adults admit to reusing passwords due to the difficulty remembering them. The complex passwords created can be easily stored and used, and often shared across platforms, including home computers, work computers and smart devices, like the iPhone 6, Samsung Galaxy Edge and iPads.

These apps for smartphones and tablets make it easy!

Keeper: As the number one most downloaded password management app, Keeper provides users with the ability to manage passwords across various accounts. Keeper’s free version provides local password storage and use on one device. A $29.99 per year subscription is required to access many of its quality features. Those include unlimited password storage, secure online storage for photos, videos and documents, and access across multiple devices, along with the ability to share the information with other users. Those with a subscription can also set up fingerprint login for quick and secure access to their account.

Dashlane: Dashlane is another great option. It’s, rated among the top password manager apps and is listed as Editor’s Pick in the Google Play Store. In addition to creating complex passwords for accounts, Dashlane acts as a digital wallet to make secure on-the-go payments and provides security breach alerts for usernames and passwords. Offered for $39.99 per year, the premium subscription allows syncing across devices, securing Cloud backup and accessing information via the web.

LastPass: This trusted app provides users with a secure vault and organization of accounts for user preference. Its features also allow for easy transitions between accounts on the same site. Like many other password management apps, LastPass can also keep track of credit card information, audit account passwords, record secure audio notes and more. Premium features for $12 a year include a shared family folder, unlimited device sync, multi-factor authentication and access to accounts from any device or computer.

A recent U.S. Cellular survey indicates that 65 percent of smartphone users always remember to take their device with them when they leave the house. With that mobility and U.S. Cellular’s robust network with nationwide coverage, people have embraced their smartphones for shopping online, managing bank accounts, catching up on news and emailing, all while on the go.

Some additional steps to keep your accounts safe are simple, such as refraining from connecting in locations offering free WiFi. While it may be tempting to utilize the free WiFi, the connection may not be secure, which can impact your account security if accessed while connected.

Another easy step is one of the most obvious – use built in features such as the screen lock on your device. This feature comes standard on many devices and requires a pattern, fingerprint identification or character password to be entered before anything on the device can be accessed.

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