There are three great tragedies of the Internet age – losing access to the internet, a serious malware infection that ultimately prevents access to the Internet, and forgetting passwords and thus losing access to online accounts. Two of these tragic events can easily be prevented or fixed, provided you took the necessary precautions.
This article will show you how to prepare your online accounts to make them recoverable. Should you ever forget the password or lose access because you were hacked, these steps will give you multiple ways to recover your account or at least keep the damage minimal.
I have previously written about 5 Things You Can Do NOW To Secure Your Facebook Account & Make It Recoverable, which contains points specific to Facebook. If you are looking for ways to regain access to your Facebook account right now, read How To Recover Your Facebook Account When You Can No Longer Log In.
1. Add Or Update Alternative Email Addresses
All your online accounts will allow you to set a contact email address or an alternative email address, which will be used in case you need to reset your password. Make sure you set such an email address and update it in case it changes.
2. Add Or Update Mobile Numbers
Most webmail providers and for example Facebook also allow you to reset your password via a mobile number, provided you have a number with a supported carrier. If your country and your mobile carrier is supported, you should set a mobile number for account recovery. Since mobile numbers tend to change more often than email addresses, be extra sure you keep it up to date.
If you are looking for a way to recover your Gmail account, have a look at this article: How To Recover Lost Gmail Password With A SMS Message
3. Set & Update Security Questions
The security question provides yet another way to recover your account. However, with time you may actually forget the answer to your security question or you may find that it is too easy to guess for people that know you a little. That’s why you should regularly review and eventually update your security question.
4. Set Unique Passwords For Every Single Account
There is at least one good reason why you should maintain unique passwords for your accounts. If one of your accounts gets hacked and the hacker knows your password, they can also access all your other accounts with that same password. Not only will this give them access to your entire correspondence and private data, with the password they can change information that otherwise would have let you recover these accounts. Finally, if they are smart, they will change the password itself. If this happens, you are indefinitely locked out of all your accounts with almost no chance to recover any of them. In other words, you are screwed.
Better set a unique password for each and every account. Here are some articles that may help:
- How To Create A Good Password That You Will Not Forget
- How To Create Strong Passwords That You Can Remember Easily
- 5 Free Password Generators For Nearly Unhackable Passwords
5. Securely Store Passwords & Answers To Security Questions
If you cannot trust your memory, it maybe safer to keep a copy of your passwords and security questions. There are multiple ways to do this, but I recommend the following: use a password manager and write down your security questions and answers into a small booklet or address book you always carry with you.
Here are articles about managing passwords you may want to look into:
- Use A Password Management Strategy To Simplify Your Life
- Dashlane – A Slick New Password Manager, Form Filler & Online Shopping Assistant
- Password Manager Battle Royale: Who Will End Up On Top?
Did you ever need to recover an account and what was it that saved your neck?