A Harrowing Tale

We talk through real world identity theft, and ways to harden your personal security.

A Quick Plug

Episode 58: So Someone Stole Your Identity

Katherine Druckman and Doc Searls talk to Shawn Powers and Kyle Rankin about protecting yourself online, password and security best practices, and a tragic tale. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn how to improve your own security practices!

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More on Passwords

Our latest episode recounts a rather unfortunate story of a personal data breach with possible identity theft, and we discussed password strategies as a means to protect oneself from similar incidents. For a more detailed presentation on password best practices, we suggest enjoying this presentation from regular Reality 2.0 guest, Kyle Rankin.

Speaking of passwords and password managers, we discussed LastPass as a popular favorite password management app, and one used by both Shawn Powers and Katherine Druckman. Coincidentally, just after recording the episode, LastPass announced some pretty major changes to its policies for free accounts. Starting March 16th, free account holders will have to choose whether to use LastPass on computers or mobile devices, but their accounts will not sync across those device types. This is a huge hurdle to usability, and eliminates much of the benefit of using LastPass, so you might want to consider alternatives unless you are interested in a paid LastPass subscription.

Shawn Powers wrote Password Managers. Yes You Need One. in 2019, and it remains relevant. Shawn’s pick was Bitwarden, and lists the following pros:

  • One developer for all apps.

  • Open-source!

  • Cloud-based access.

  • Works offline if the "cloud" is unavailable.

  • Free version isn't crippled.

  • Browser plugin works very well.

Barry Collins of Forbes also recommends Bitwarden:

My recommended course of action is to switch to one of LastPass’s rivals, such as Bitwarden. I’ve written about the brilliant Bitwarden before: it’s free, open source and it works with almost any device you can name.

Bitwarden does offer a premium account ($10 per year) which unlocks extra features, but I’ve been running on a free account for well over a year and it’s perfectly functional without these extras.

Finally, as Kyle Rankin mentions in the episode, his preference is the KeePass format, and thank you to Anthony M. on librem.one for this advice:

@reality2cast @katherined @doc @kyle great episode. Like @kyle I’ve also kept my passwords in a KeePass DB format for a long time. In the last two years I’ve even managed to get my non-tech friends and family to use it as well. I’ve used the following clients with excellent integration to their environments:

Android: KeePass2Android
iOS: Strongbox
Windows & Linux: KeePassXC

All support TOTP natively as well, for management and use of your 2FA credentials.

If you get one takeaway from our harrowing tale, we hope it will be to use a password manager and two-factor or multi-factor authentication where available.

As always, we encourage you to send us our thoughts here in a comment, or on any of our social outlets, or via our contact form.

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We look forward to sharing our weekly recaps, reading lists and inspiration with you as we navigate our collective digital reality. We hope you enjoy taking this virtual journey with us, and we’ll do our best to be pleasant travel companions. Cheers until next time!

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