Tips to get your digital home in order

It’s back to school time and that may be prompting people to make sure their lives and homes are in order.

Strategies include making sure you have strong passwords and the right hardware for your needs

It's back to school time and that may be prompting people to make sure their lives and homes are in order.

It's also a good time of year to get your digital home cleaned up as well, according to a Laurentian University professor.

Aaron Langille, who teaches computer science and video game design, says getting your digital house in order can mean a variety of tasks, such as making sure your hardware and software still meet your needs.

Langille also recommends ensuring your security settings are meeting your needs.

Aaron Langille is a professor at Laurentian University in Sudbury. (Markus Schwabe/CBC)

"You really have to be aware of what software and services you're using and keep an eye on the news for the ones that may need a little bit of extra security help," he said.

Langille says making sure these security settings are in place can help you from being hacked.

He offers the following tips to create a strong password to protect your information:

  • Create a secure password: Langille says it's best to create a long password that is a mix of letters, numbers and characters.
  • Never write your password down: "It's a terrible thing to do," he said. "I've spoken to people who have a sticky note in their desk that have all of their logins and passwords and the websites that they go to."
  • Create a password that makes sense to you: But aim to make the password not make sense to anyone else, he said. "So, kind of smashing two words together in a way that wouldn't normally make sense and add a couple of numbers on the end."
  • Use two-step verification if available: Langille says this practice is basically using "something you know and something you have." "In a two-factor authentication system, you will have a password that you'll know and then usually it's your cell phone that you have," he explained. "When you go to login, it will say 'Please check your cell phone' for a particular number or key phrase which you will then add in afterwards. Only when you've done those two steps will it allow you into the system."


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