Bad passwords happen to good people

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Passwords (for now) are a necessary evil of the digital age and are a part of our everyday lives at work and at home. Lucky for us, no two sites approach password creation the same way, and remembering every single one for the numerous accounts we have is a breeze, right? Kidding aside, many websites and services leave the onus on us to make our passwords “more secure” instead of actually imposing strict strength requirements. Plus, we have to find an effective method or choose a tool to help us remember all of them.

Though I’d like to give most people the benefit of the doubt, their behavior makes it quite clear that most value productivity over security when it comes to passwords. In fact, according to a recent study, 65% of individuals use the same password everywhere, and 47% report a productivity drain at work due to password management.

So what’s the big deal? We see password leaks in the news every day, along with stolen user account, credit card or confidential information going along with it. Most people continue to ignore the problem, assuming the worst can't happen to them.

Quite recently, I heard my sister talking about her Ancestry.com account. I asked her if she could share the account with me, and with her busy schedule, I never heard back! I grew increasingly impatient, and headed to the Ancestry.com website. I knew she had an account, and her e-mail address, so took a guess from there.

One guess, I was in.

Her password was one that she as used, and re-used, for years. It was the very same password she used for her AOL account in 1996. So not just a few years, about 20 years; she had a password almost two-decades old. The very same password she was using when we had a dial-up modem, at a time when we were kicked offline by a phone call...on a landline.

It’s pretty clear my sister has some pretty bad password habits, but what about you? Take our new password quiz to find out how good you are at protecting your passwords and personal information. If you need to bulk up, check out these 4 quick and easy steps to set yourself on a path to strong, secure passwords.

Four quick & easy steps to better password management

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Think about the apps and web services you use on a daily basis for both personal and business – Gmail, Twitter, MailChimp, Google Analytics, Scalyr, Stripe, etc. All of those accounts contain valuable personal information, and you want to ensure you’re protecting it in the best way possible. The question is how can you do that without a ton of effort? It doesn’t have to be difficult and once you know the basics, you’re much better off than the average Joe. Simply follow these 4 steps and you’ll be well on your way to secure, safe accounts:

1. Create strong, secure passwords – Don’t simply use your kid’s name and the date of their birthday, or your anniversary. Be creative, or even random. Also, ensure your passwords are a minimum length (8-10 characters) and use uppercase, lowercase, and characters in each one. One surefire way to know if your passwords are secure? Use a password generator. 

2. Store them somewhere safe – Use an online password manager that stores and encrypts all your passwords in one central location. When you adopt a password manager, you immediately improve the security on your accounts that store valuable information like account numbers, credit card info, social security numbers, and more. There are a number of password managers to choose from, such as Meldium, which is a cloud-based service that offers great tools for individuals and businesses alike. Whatever you do, don’t write your passwords on sticky notes by your desk. 

3. Only share securely – Specifically, don’t write down your passwords on paper or in an email to share them with others. Whether the risk is the wrong person will find that paper in the trash or someone will hack your email, the outcome is all around no good, so keep your passwords to yourself unless you're using a true sharing feature with a password manager, which allows you to share account access but not the password itself. The best of both worlds!

4. Use two-factor authentication – One of the best ways to secure your passwords is to use two-factor authentication, which adds another layer of security. When 2FA is enabled, you’ll be required to validate your account by another method – a 2FA app, text to your phone, email, or some other similar message – and this helps ensure it’s truly you that is accessing your account.

Once you’ve followed these 4 easy steps, your accounts and the information they hold will be much more secure. In addition, if you use a password manager like Meldium, you can store all accounts for both personal and work, which allows you to share accounts (but not the passwords!) like Netflix with family or friends as needed. That’s the kind of sharing we like. 

Spotlight On: GitHub

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With 32 million visitors each month, GitHub is one of the world's most popular tools.  Our users agree - it was one of our hottest apps of the year, featured in our May App Trends, and of course our biggest fans are some of GitHub’s too.  

You may be wondering what the buzz is all about. So, we decided to put the spotlight on GitHub- complete with an inside look at what some users have to say.

What is GitHub?
Git, like other version control systems, manages and stores revisions of projects. It’s mostly used for code but can be used to manage any other type of file like Word documents or Final Cut projects. It’s like a filing system for every draft of a document.

GitHub provides a Web-based graphical interface, access control and several collaboration features, such as a wikis and basic task management tools for every project.

Why do some of our biggest fans think GitHub is so special?
“I could probably speak for most of us when saying that GitHub changed our lives. I don't think I've ever experienced such a low amount of friction with a tool like this. I'm guessing the fact that the GitHub team uses GitHub more than anybody else has a lot to do with it. That and their knack at reducing features to their essence make a serious difference. The amount of flexibility GitHub provides us with to collaborate on software development, and software production in general is staggering. Our marketing and support teams use GitHub too.” Oliver Lacan, Developer, Code School

What’s new with GitHub?
In early July, the team opened up a First Look program to give early access to upcoming features and updates to shape the quality and direction of their desktop app.  Back in June, they hosted a Student hackathon (Hackcon III).  As most users know, the site is built on Rails, which is built on Ruby, an open source project started in Japan.  With Japan ranking within the top 10 countries visiting GitHub since the company was founding in 2008, the team opened up their first official office outside the U.S. in early June.

How can tools like GitHub and Meldium help your team?
“Tools like Dropbox, Meldium, and GitHub make it very easy to get people ready for work on Day 1. The only hurdles we have left to face are more specific to our production stack, which goes to show how much easier things have become.” Oliver Lacan, Developer, Code School

Meldium offers provisioning for GitHub– so you can get your entire team onboarded in just a few clicks. 

Where can you learn more about GitHub and Meldium?
Try checking out some of these resources:

Not a Meldium user yet? Get you and your team started today with a launchpad for all of your accounts, including one-click access to GitHub.