Over the past few years, the increased frequency of large-scale data breaches left me with a growing anxiety about protecting my online accounts. Then I started working at Dashlane, where part of my job is alerting our users to breaches that could damage their privacy and assets. Talk about a wake-up call to be more proactive!
But when I looked at my own Dashlane app and saw that I had 41 reused passwords—a major vulnerability in my personal digital security—I was totally overwhelmed. Faced with the idea of needing to manually reset the passwords on 41 separate accounts, I wished nothing more than to be able to go back in time and create a unique password for every account from day one.
Since I can’t go back in time, I instead combined Dashlane’s tools with some tips I learned from Tidying Up with Marie Kondo to create a practical strategy for increasing my Password Health score. If you’re like me and feel overwhelmed by your bad cybersecurity habits, here are five ways that you can use Dashlane to organize your digital life and take back control of your personal information.
- Assess the risk
Identify which passwords already compromised, weak, or reused—in other words, the ones you need to change ASAP. This is also a good opportunity to determine if you have any accounts that you no longer use, and if so, delete them.
How Dashlane can help: The Password Health section of your Dashlane app contains a list of all your compromised, weak, and reused passwords.
- Make a daily goal
Based on the total amount of passwords that are bringing down your score, determine an attainable quantity to change each day. I had 41 passwords to reset, and I gave myself two weeks to do so: That meant resetting just four passwords per day. Instead of browsing social media while I ate lunch, I updated a few passwords, and it was a much better use of my time. Start with your compromised passwords first, then move on to reused, and lastly weak.
How Dashlane can help: Password Changer allows you to reset certain account passwords without leaving the Dashlane app. Not all websites support this feature yet, but it’s a great place to start and can help you quickly cross a handful off your list.
- Remain steadfast
After you’ve reset your accounts, don’t fall back on old habits! Be sure to make a unique, complex password every single time you create a new account—no exceptions.
How Dashlane can help: Password Generator is available on both desktop and mobile apps, but for a more seamless experience, use it in Dashlane’s browser extension. You’ll be able to create a unique, complex password for every new account and save it to your vault automatically without leaving the website. It’s the fastest way to keep new accounts up to par.
- Share passwords securely
Now that you’ve updated your passwords, anyone you were sharing an account with will likely lose access without the new password. You might be happy to revoke the privileges of some Netflix-moochers, but for those you still want to have access, you can share passwords securely through the app.
How Dashlane can help: The Sharing Center is a better way to share passwords than texting, emailing, or writing them down because it keeps the passwords encrypted. This means that though your password is shared, it’s never revealed. Plus, sharing through Dashlane’s Sharing Center allows the recipient to keep it on hand, securely, in case they need to log in to a new device in the future. (No more “What’s the password?” texts at 1 a.m.!)
- Start a discussion
Talk to your friends and family about cybersecurity habits. It’s important for all of us collectively to take responsibility for our own data. If you have children, help them start these habits early on. The more of us who are aware of best practices, the more proactive we can be in controlling the privacy of our personal information.
How Dashlane can help: Share Dashlane with your friends, family, and coworkers to get them started on their journey to digital independence. There are two ways to share Dashlane:
- Refer friends and family to give them six months of free Dashlane Premium. The kicker? For every person you refer, you both receive six months of free Dashlane Premium. More details on Dashlane’s referral program here.
- Buy Dashlane Premium for friends and family as a gift. With Dashlane Premium, they’ll get access to all of Dashlane’s core password management features as well as cross-device syncing, Dashlane’s VPN, a dark web monitoring tool, and more.
Bonus tip: Now that you’ve started your relationship with passwords over again, take things to the next level by setting up two-factor authentication. Put simply, it’s a way for devices or websites to double-check that the person entering your password is really you.