Better Online Security (Not a New Year’s Resolution)

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Figure 1: Attribution: Free for commercial use, No attribution required , via Pixabay

I’m not making a New Year’s resolution though it appears to be suspiciously close to the beginning of the year. I’ve decided to take my online privacy and security a little more seriously.

Recently, I listened to a podcast called IRL (specifically, Season 4, Episode 2 “Your Password Is the Worst”). It got me thinking about improving my security online in general. At the end of the podcast, they noted an offer with 1Password to get the first 3 months of their service for free. I signed up for the family plan and basically I’m looking at $4.99 a month (billed annually so $67.63 with the tax). 1Password manages all my passwords in one place and also suggests much more secure ones than the ones I can think of. It works on my phone, my Chromebook, and in my browser. With the family plan, I can get my spouse and (eventually) my kids on the same subscription. Now, I just need to get my spouse on it.

As luck and circumstance would have it, my brother-in-law just signed up for NordVPN and we’re going to share the cost of the subscription ($2.99 per month, billed for 3 years as a block). I won’t go into a huge amount of detail as to what a VPN is or why it’s good to have access to one as others have done a much better job of explaining the concept than I would. (You can check out a short video here, a longer one here, or here, or, read this article.) In essence, the best features of a VPN is the encryption of your data (useful if you’re using public Wi-Fi) and the ability to mask your point of origin (which I have made use of already as you’ll see…).

The VPN has helped me out already. I had to book an internal flight with a European carrier for a trip we’re planning. The site wouldn’t let me log in from Canada (and also it wouldn’t tell me that this was the reason I couldn’t log in…stupid programmers). However, when I connected to a VPN server in Europe I was able to buy my flights and take advantage of a one-day sale they had. Basically, the VPN has already paid for itself with the savings I got.

I hope these two measures will help me to be a bit more secure online and help preserve a bit of my privacy online as well.

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