Gadget Resolutions to Start Your Year Securely - Word&Way

Gadget Resolutions to Start Your Year Securely

The start of the year is a great time to roll up your shirt sleeves and address personal privacy and security.

There’s a 1-in-3 chance of identity theft if your information has been part of a breach. For the 74 robberies every hour there are also 2,000 identity thefts ( Nearly half of the US population was hacked in some way in the space of one year (

Ken crop webKen crop webPasswords and logins. You’ve read the advice that your passwords shouldn’t be too simple or be repeated. CNET reports eight-character passwords using letters, numbers and special characters can be broken between six minutes and 5.5 hours — and that was four years ago ( Fortune cites studies that using longer passphrases like “ithinkChristmastreesareprettierwithaStar” are effective if you avoid song lyrics or poetry ( Two-step verification logins also increase security; when available, use them.

Another option is a password manager such as or to help you avoid repeating logins. Consumer Affairs lists 10 with reviews and options available (

Smartphones and tablets. Think of the private information on your devices. Digital Guardian has 101 tips to keeping information safe ( The Federal Communications Commission has further tips about Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections (

Other steps to consider: Install HTTPS Everywhere ( to encrypt your browsing and install MyPermissions (, Android and iOS) to control app privacy settings.

Home networks. Unprotected, your home wireless network leaves personal information open to a drive-by hacker — literally. If you haven’t changed your router’s security information, it is still using a generic username and password. Activating encryption and updating the router firmware are just some of the other steps you can take. PC Mag ( has step-by-step instructions.

Social networks. SocialPilot shares security settings for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest ( By taking a few minutes on each network you use, you’ll control what personal information you are sharing and who can see your creative posts.

Ken Satterfield is a former media specialist and current marketing coordinator for Word&Way. 

Read more:

How to Manage Privacy Settings on iPhone and iPad (iMore)

For Privacy and Security, Change These Android Settings Right Now (CNET)

How Do I Edit the Privacy and Settings for My Apps and Games? (Facebook)

Beware of Making Jesus Your Password (Christianity Today)

How to Stay More Anonymous Online (Panda Security)