Dealing with Heartbleed and securing your digital assets… three steps for writers and filmmakers

If you arte anything like me, you have probably used the same password on more than one site. It’s probably an old password too, one that you have used for years and it’s probably short. God forbid it is something like ‘Password’. I have seen it, believe me.

I needed to change this and I have done so now. I could feel disaster brewing.

Like all catastrophes in life, it always seems like it will happen to someone else. We experience catastrophe so rarely as to assume it will never happen.

But the odds are, the longer you leave yourself vulnerable while online by using short and easy to crack passwords, the more likely it is you will hacked – and that could lead to something as silly as spam being sent from your email account, all the way up to identity theft and financial plundering.

It’s happened. It’s common in fact. And if it happens to you, trust me, it won’t be fun.

Heartbleed is a potential internet wide data security threat and it forced me to get to grips with my passwords and logins.

If you haven’t heard about it, all you need to know is that the way that secure data was sent on the web had a bug. It’s been fixed, but not everyone has adopted the fix yet, though most have.

BUT… even with the fix, your data WAS vulnerable in the past, and potentially, hackers already have your usernames, emails and passwords for many sites – and again, how many other sites share your common password that is easy to remember and therefore hack? That’s the real vulnerability. You, like me, being human.

So here’s what I did

1. Commit to moving all my logins to a login service. After some research I chose LastPass, and so far I am very pleased with it. I now have one very long password that unlocks a vault with all my other passwords inside. The system rather elegantly and effortlessly logs me into all my other sites, and I can push passwords and logins to other users – Judy in the office also has LastPass so we can share data easily. It’s all really well thought out and implemented. Once installed into my browser, my login database was very quickly built as I logged into my sites, and the whole process was much less painful than I had thought it would be. It’s also on my iPhone. KEY – make sure your LastPass password is VERY long and includes non alpha numeric characters and have different passwords for each site. (https://lastpass.com)

2. Change all my passwords. Because all my passwords are now in a vault, I don’t need to remember any of them. So I have been using Random Number generators to create very long passwords – many look this… ss4@,C[LF2yHKnX>S]54pbx
I have used both https://www.random.org and http://passwordsgenerator.net/ to create passwords. Remember, the system handles logins for you, you wont need to remember the passwords.

3. Check the sever for HeartBleed vulnerability. Norton Security has built this cool free tool to allow you to check if a site has implemented the HeartBleed fix, making it secure once more. Just add the URL and it will tell you. You can check your websites here… http://safeweb.norton.com/heartbleed If your site does not pass the test, you should still change your password, but also keep checking back daily until they have patched the bug, and then change your password again.

While I am sure there are more security measures we could all take, I am also sure that these three simple steps will radically improve your security immediately.

So listen, I get that writing scripts, editing films, promoting screenings are ALL so much more exciting that changing your password, but filmmaking is digital now, and we need to be as safe and secure in our online world as possible, or risk losing so much.

It’s an afternoons work. Do it this weekend.

Onwards and upwards!

Chris Jones
My movies www.LivingSpiritGroup.com
My Facebook www.Facebook.com/ChrisJonesFilmmaker
My Twitter @LivingSpiritPix


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