Yahoo recently revealed that the usernames, passwords, and security q&a were stolen from billions of users in 2013. This is in addition to the 500 million users affected in 2014 from stolen data. Even if you don't use Yahoo--or just created an account for access to Flickr or some other web service--this has implications for you. If you're a current/former Yahoo user, change passwords to major online accounts (bank accounts, social media, etc). If you haven't ever used Yahoo and don't have any connection to the virtual theft, start making contingency plans in case it happens to any other web service you do use. Flashdrive security is one way to help out both parties.
Flashdrives, or USB drives, can be used for a variety of security-related matters (and not-so-secure, but that's a topic for another post). When we talk about it in conjunction with keeping passwords and accounts safe, we mean encrypting access with a password. Web security expert Jeremiah Grossman personally only remembers a few passwords. Basically two: one to unlock his computer, and one to unlock his flashdrive, onto which he loads all his other passwords. It's the ultimate approach to flashdrive security, and easier than you think.
How Flashdrive Security Can Keep You Safe
Ubergizmo details three different ways to encrypt information on a USB stick. Here they are, listed in order of security.
- Protect individual data
The least secure, but the most accessible. Keep your passwords listed on a Microsoft Office Word document (access the backstage area and select Protect Document to walk through the process). There are also a variety of third party apps that can protect folders and files. Google your operating system for compatible options.
Encrypt Part of the USB Drive
For something like we're proposing, we recommend a little more power behind flashdrive security. If you still want part of the drive accessible without hassle, encrypt a part of the flash drive. There are a few options depending what you need (Ubergizmo recommends Rohos Mini Drive). This solution is ideal when you plan to use the drive for normal file storage/transfer as well as security functionality.
Encrypt the Entire Drive
Ready to commit? Go whole hog with flashdrive security and choose a tool to walk through the process. Diskcryptor is a popular one, and if you use Windows, BitLocker is another (just rightclick and select Enable BitLocker). Mac users can do something similar (format and enter a password). This is the most secure way to ensure that your passwords, documents, and other things are secure.
Your USB Drive as a Key
Think of your flashdrive as a kind of key. You use a key to access your house as a means to keep it safe. You can use a USB stick in the same way to access data. Sometimes, it feels that data theft isn't so much a question of *if* as a matter of *when.* Taking steps now to ensure that the data stolen is only valid for that service can lessen the impact.