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Your computer accounts are your dedicated user profiles for the various services you access. Each of these accounts should be protected to prevent unwanted people from accessing your personal information. Two things you can do to protect these accounts are using strong passwords and using multifactor authentication.

Passwords

  • The most common way to protect any of your user accounts is with a strong password. Typically, this means making a password that would be difficult for someone else to guess. The password should also be of sufficient length to prevent someone from using an automated system to guess your password.

    • Preferably, the password would be at least twelve characters and have a combination of upper case and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters.

  • Passwords should also be unique to each accounts.

  • If you are having trouble remembering all of your unique passwords, you might consider a password manager app. This applications can securely store your various account details behind its own strong password. This means you only need to remember one password.

    • When selecting a password manager, be sure to check to user reviews and ensure the application is from a trustworthy source.

Multi-Factor Authentication

In addition to your password, you can make computer accounts even more secure by using multi-factor authentication. When you access and account with multi-factor authentication, you will also need to have access to an additional device or system which was tied to the account. Common examples are smart phone apps or secondary email accounts. Multi-factor authentication makes it more difficult for unauthorized users to access your accounts, because a password alone is not sufficient.

Multi-factor authentication should be used any accounts that process or contain sensitive information such as credit card numbers. Examples of companies that offer multi-factor authentication for their accounts include:

  • Apple / iTunes
  • Facebook
  • Google / Gmail
  • Amazon
  • Microsoft / Xbox Live
  • Sony Playstation Network

Please visit the official websites for these companies for more information about their Multi-Factor Authentication services.

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