Have You Been Pwned? Get a Password Manager
Does this sound like you?
You’re probably looking at it right now. That colorful array of post-it notes that frame your computer screen. Unintelligible numbers and symbols scattered in random order upon them. Or, maybe this isn’t you, maybe you wanted to be more “secure” and decided to hide the password-bearing post-its under your keyboard, the mouse pad, or that dustless square section of desk under your laptop. We are kidding (kinda). The reality is, that even if you put those passwords in an actual vault, they still wouldn’t be as safe as you might think. Odds are that the passwords you are using to protect your personal information and your student’s information aren’t safe. Why? Because the passwords we create on our own are typically weak and easily guessed by powerful bots whose only reason for existence is to hack around chump passwords and wreak havoc on whatever they are able to access.
What makes a good password?
Experts say that we need to create strong passwords. Strong passwords are generally considered to be long and contain an assortment of letters, numbers, and spaces. You might also add a special character in there too if you want. Randomness is another key factor in creating a difficult-to-crack password. Instead of using your cat’s name combined with the year you graduated from high school, you would be better off using a long phrase and playing around with the structure of it. For example, you can take something like “I love my mom” to “!I L0v3 My m0M!”
Another expert tip is to make sure your login passwords are unique for each site or service that you have an account for. Sounds crazy right? That means the experts recommendation is to have a seperate (and hard-to-guess) password for Gmail, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Kahoot, Socrative, Canvas, Padlet, Flip-Grid, and Quizlet to name a few. Like any normal human being, we tend to find the easiest path to solve our “multiple accounts” problem and we often cycle through the same few passwords over and over again, re-using them from site to site. It’s not hard to imagine the consequences should one of those accounts become compromised. Now every site that uses that password could end up hacked and (assuming you can still log in), you’ll have to author one of those embarrassing Facebook posts apologizing to anyone who received a creepy message from “you”. Trust me, you don’t want to be “that guy”.
Your new best friend
I know it seems like it’s impossible to generate really difficult passwords and use a different one every time but there is one simple solution for this dilemma and it is called a password manager. Password managers act like a super secure digital vault that allow you to store all of your passwords and other login information in one secure spot. The information you put inside that vault is encrypted which means that even if someone gets inside your vault, the information inside is unusable. Most password managers also utilize two-factor authentication so the likelihood of it getting hacked is substantially lower.
Password managers make it super easy to access a username and password. Just sign into your password manager, click login, and voila, you’re logged in securely. Most managers automatically fill in the login fields for you automatically so you don’t need to worry about copying and pasting information. Password managers will also help you create strong passwords with one click. These passwords are saved in the manager too so you don’t have to stare blankly at your Netflix login screen racking your brain for forgotten credentials.
There are a lot of reputable password managers out there and many of them have a free version you can use. A couple that we know schools around the country use are also ones we have used here at Kyte. They are:
There is a fair chance one of your accounts has already been compromised and you can find out using this handy little website built by a cyber security expert in Australia.
Want to learn about more awesome tools to start coding in your classroom?
Have You Been Pwned? Get a Password Manager
New and Noteworthy
Since we have the opportunity to interact with the EdTech community a lot here at Kyte, we frequently find ourselves meeting people and discovering companies that have something super cool to offer. Much like ROOT Robots, which we talked about in last month’s Newsletter. This was just the case while attending the iNacol Conference in San Antonio last October. While there, we had the opportunity to meet the founders of an awesome, new ed-tech company called Bloxels.
Students create their very own video games with Bloxels!
Coding and computer science are all the rage in schools these days, and this is as it should be. With the ever increasing demand for quality programmers, the world is continually seeking the next creative genius who will come along and create technology that enhances our lives. But what generates that spark of interest for a student that inspires them to embrace something new and challenging for the very first time? For a lot of kids, it’s video games–and going beyond just playing them becomes a whole lot easier with Bloxels.
What are Bloxels?
Bloxels seamlessly combine the physical world with the digital. The people from Bloxels state, “Bloxels enables anyone to build, capture, design, play, and share their very own video games. Designed with blocks, a universal element of childhood play, Bloxels cultivate imagination while encouraging discovery and experimentation.”
With Bloxels, students can bring their own video game ideas into a vibrant and engaging reality by building out structures, hazards, and even characters with the physical blocks and grid board included in each set. These physical creations are then magically converted into full-blown digital worlds through an easy-to-use app. With the app, you can build and animate original characters, develop villains, add in power-ups, and a whole lot more. Each phase of the creation process is incredibly intuitive and a ton of fun to set up.
See what we mean by checking out this vid.
You can get these bad boys for yourself or your classroom right here. An individual set will only run you $49, and a classroom set costs between $450 and $800 depending on how many you need.