Guide to Securing Your Digital Life After Death

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When it comes to the , I’m the one one in my household that is aware of a lot about it. Unfortunately, my spouse makes use of solely her iPhone for e-mail, , chatting, and video games. That’s about it. I, alternatively, handle EVERYTHING else associated to the Internet or computer systems. I handle our on-line banking, investments, and bank cards.

I even have all of the passwords and logins for all of the websites we use from AAA to our HOA website to airways to , and so on, and so forth. In addition, I additionally handle your entire digital media together with photographs, movies and necessary digital paperwork. Complicating the scenario is that I run a enterprise that’s completely digital: running a blog! I have a number of websites, tied to their very own particular person financial institution accounts and on-line identities spanning advert networks offers, pages, internet hosting websites, and so forth.

Recently, the thought occurred to me that if I have been to move away or grow to be incapacitated in any approach, the household would  be screwed. She wouldn’t know what number of financial institution accounts we have now, the place the investments are, what on-line accounts we’ve got or what stuff I have saved within the cloud (which is quite a bit). Plus, even when she did, she wouldn’t give you the chance to log into any of them. This would imply that there could be an entire slew of digital logins and property sitting round with nobody to handle them or take care of them. Our digital id can be a whole mess.

The solely saving grace is that she is aware of my grasp password and has entry to my two-issue authentication system, which she might use to entry an inventory of all my websites and logins. However, she wouldn’t even know the place to use the grasp password since she’s by no means completed it earlier than.

In this text, I need to stroll by way of some doable options that I researched over the previous few weeks and the way I determined to safe my in case of my premature dying or demise. Not enjoyable stuff to take into consideration, however completely needed particularly since a lot of the stuff we do in our lives is on-line or in digital format.

Firstly, Get It All Together

No matter what route you’re taking ultimately to move on data to your important different or member of the family, you first want to get all the data collectively and retailer it in a single place. Now there are a few methods to do that, but it surely’s completely vital that the information is saved very securely because you’re mainly placing your whole digital life in a single location.

Depending in your stage of belief, you may generate this record both digitally or the previous-faculty manner. I use a password supervisor app that I really feel assured received’t be hacked into. However, in case you are simply plain averse to placing such delicate data on-line in any respect, then it’s greatest to merely write all of it down or kind it up after which print it and delete the digital model.

The two greatest choices for digital storage are KeePass and LastPass. KeePass will be saved domestically and subsequently may be a greater choice for these cautious of storing the whole lot on the Internet. If you’re snug with encryption and two-factor authentication, then you need to use LastPass to compile all of the important information.

LastPass has different helpful security measures like a one time password. With a one time password, you would retailer this in a safe location like a house secure and your partner may use this password to log into your account if one thing have been to occur to you. The good factor a couple of one time password is that it expires after you log in as soon as. So you don’t have to give out your grasp password nor retailer it wherever that’s not as safe as you desire to.

In phrases of the data it is best to accumulate, it ought to actually be all the pieces you may consider. Email accounts, on-line banking, bank cards, investments, social networking websites, airways, purchasing websites, backup websites, internet hosting websites, and so forth, and so forth. Basically something you ever have logged into that also is pertinent and helpful. With KeePass and LastPass, you can even add notes to every merchandise you add, so if there’s extra data aside from login data you want to embody, it’s straightforward to add that.

Secondly, Secure It All

Now that you’ve a grasp assortment of every thing that exists in your digital life, you want to make certain it’s safe. If you’re utilizing the digital choices like LastPass or KeePass, you want to use greater than only a sturdy password. Both have secondary authentication (two issue) choices that make all the pieces 1,000,000 occasions safer.

Even with encryption and two-issue authentication, nonetheless, the information can nonetheless be compromised and that is the place individuals cautious of storing information digitally have a reputable declare. For instance, if you find yourself with adware or malware that runs secretly within the background, it might simply seize the whole lot you kind in. In phrases of really getting entry to your total database, that will be a lot tougher for the reason that knowledge is closely encrypted by default. Even if the malware had been to copy your database file to their pc remotely, they might not give you the option to crack it in any humanly possible period of time even with many quick computer systems.

It’s important that the pc you employ to compile all of this data is clear earlier than you begin. If you’re doing a whole lot of copying and pasting, malware can seize what’s within the clipboard earlier than it will get into the encrypted database. Also, if somebody can remotely management your laptop, then they’ll open the packages (if left open) and get all the knowledge they want. That’s why it’s additionally important to shut the database should you’re not utilizing it (KeePass) and to set a brief timeout in case you are utilizing the browser extension (LastPass).

With the LastPass browser extension, you’ll be able to entry the whole lot proper out of your browser. This is handy for logging into websites routinely, and so on, however it additionally poses a giant safety danger. If somebody takes over your laptop and also you’re logged into LastPass, they will simply export a file with all logins and credentials and switch it to themselves in a couple of minutes or much less.

However, LastPass is aware of of all this and due to this fact has a number of safety choices. For instance, in the event you shut the browser, you’ll be able to make it possible for LastPass logs out which means if another person comes by and opens the browser, they’ll have to login once more. You may also have it in order that it logs out after a certain quantity of idle time. I set this to a couple of minutes as a result of I don’t need the flexibility for another person to entry my account whereas I’m not there and the browser window is open.

With KeePass, you even have fairly a little bit of safety. The latest model even has the flexibility to confuse keyloggers put in in your machine in order that they will’t truly seize the information you sort into any of the fields. In addition to a grasp password, you need to use key information. A key file is a file that’s saved on an exterior machine and wishes to be used as well as to the grasp password to open the database. Lastly, you may hyperlink the database to your Windows account too, so even with the password and key file, you’d aso have to be logged into that exact consumer account.

That’s why just about everybody makes use of one in every of these two choices for storing safe login data. If you don’t need to use any digital choice, then merely write every thing down on paper. I would extremely advise in opposition to utilizing a program like Word after which printing the file. The important problem being that if you are creating the file, it’s extensive open to assault and never encrypted. Plus you may have the prospect of forgetting about it altogether, thereby opening your self up to every kind of issues. It will clearly take fairly a little bit of time to compile the listing, so it’s finest to use one thing safe when you do it.

At a later level, after exporting the database to a printed model, you can delete the database or on-line account in case you actually felt uncomfortable.

Thirdly, Get a Lawyer

Unfortunately, the actual world and the digital world are interconnected. When somebody dies, the financial institution will normally freeze their accounts. If you don’t have the right monetary arrange, your spouse might not be ready to entry any cash till after the property is settled. This can add extra stress to an already tremendous-disturbing state of affairs.

A correct lawyer can get every part to ensure that you and may even be used to retailer your confidential grasp printed file or grasp password. What’s important is getting all of the power of attorneys setup appropriately. A joint checking account will work, however that’s solely when you have one checking account. In a case like mine, I have a bunch of financial institution accounts and solely my identify is on them. If I need her to take management, simply giving her the login data will do nothing. Actually, it might probably trigger extra hassle as a result of technically she’ll be breaking the legislation by accessing the accounts after my demise.

Fourthly, Write a Guide & Store It

Lastly, you want to really create one thing that somebody non-technical can comply with. The greatest approach to do that is to write up a doc that explains how issues are setup, what accounts are essential, how to entry them, and so on. Print this doc and moreover, the listing of all logins for the whole lot and retailer this in a secure deposit field in a financial institution.

Do not retailer this at house, even in a kind of residence safes if potential. Why? Well, it’s simply higher to preserve it in an official location that requires somebody to really stroll right into a public place. If you’ve gotten a protected at residence and there are individuals who know what’s inside, it may trigger somebody to do one thing rash like power your trusted particular person to open it for them. It’s most likely a small likelihood, however the truth is that loopy stuff occurs after somebody dies generally and also you don’t need to be coping with that.

If you don’t need to truly retailer your entire password and login listing within the protected deposit field, you possibly can simply preserve the grasp password there and even only a single one time password, although that could be a little riskier since it will probably solely be used as soon as and if somebody will get locked out after that with out getting the right info, then they received’t ever have the opportunity to get again in.

Conclusion

This is clearly not the one means or one of the best ways to switch your digital id to another person after your loss of life, however it’s a primary step and one which most individuals, together with myself, have by no means even bothered to take into consideration. My spouse and I created a will way back with a belief and power of attorneys, however I realized that was solely half of what she’ll want to handle every little thing correctly.

Let us know your ideas should you’ve created a plan and what instruments or processes you used for accumulating and storing delicate data. Enjoy!


When it comes to the digital world, I’m the only one in my family that knows much about it. Unfortunately, my wife uses only her iPhone for email, Facebook, chatting, and games. That’s about it. I, on the other hand, manage EVERYTHING else related to the Internet or computers. I manage our online banking, investments, and credit cards.

I also have all the passwords and logins for all the sites we use from AAA to our HOA site to airlines to social media networks, etc, etc. In addition, I also manage all of your digital media including photos, videos and important digital documents. Complicating the situation is that I run a business that is totally digital: blogging! I have several sites, tied to their own individual bank accounts and online identities spanning ad networks deals, social media pages, hosting sites, etc.

Recently, the thought occurred to me that if I were to pass away or become incapacitated in any way, the family would  be screwed. She wouldn’t know how many bank accounts we have, where the investments are, what online accounts we have or what stuff I have stored in the cloud (which is a lot). Plus, even if she did, she would not be able to log into any of them. This would mean that there would be a whole slew of digital logins and assets sitting around with no one to manage them or look after them. Our digital identity would be a complete mess.

The only saving grace is that she knows my master password and has access to my two-factor authentication device, which she could use to access a list of all my sites and logins. However, she wouldn’t even know where to use the master password since she’s never done it before.

In this article, I want to walk through some possible solutions that I researched over the last few weeks and how I decided to secure my digital legacy in case of my untimely death or demise. Not fun stuff to think about, but totally necessary especially since most of the stuff we do in our lives is online or in digital format.

Firstly, Get It All Together

No matter what route you take in the end to pass on information to your significant other or family member, you first need to get all the information together and store it in one place. Now there are a couple of ways to do this, but it’s absolutely necessary that the data is stored very securely since you’re basically putting your entire digital life in one location.

Depending on your level of trust, you can generate this list either digitally or the old-school way. I use a password manager app that I feel confident won’t be hacked into. However, if you are just plain averse to putting such sensitive information online at all, then it’s best to simply write it all down or type it up and then print it and delete the digital version.

The two best options for digital storage are KeePass and LastPass. KeePass can be stored locally and therefore might be a better option for those wary of storing everything on the Internet. If you’re comfortable with encryption and two-factor authentication, then you can use LastPass to compile all the essential data.

LastPass has other useful security features like a one time password. With a one time password, you could store this in a secure location like a home safe and your spouse could use this password to log into your account if something were to happen to you. The nice thing about a one time password is that it expires after you log in once. So you don’t have to give out your master password nor store it anywhere that is not as secure as you would like.

In terms of the information you should collect, it should literally be everything you can think of. Email accounts, online banking, credit cards, investments, social networking sites, airlines, shopping sites, backup sites, hosting sites, etc, etc. Basically anything you ever have logged into that still is pertinent and useful. With KeePass and LastPass, you can also add notes to each item you add, so if there is additional information other than login information you need to include, it’s easy to add that.

Secondly, Secure It All

Now that you have a master collection of everything that exists in your digital life, you need to make sure it’s secure. If you’re using the digital options like LastPass or KeePass, you need to use more than just a strong password. Both have secondary authentication (two factor) options that make everything a million times more secure.

Even with encryption and two-factor authentication, however, the data can still be compromised and this is where people wary of storing data digitally have a legitimate claim. For example, if you end up with spyware or malware that runs secretly in the background, it could easily capture everything you type in. In terms of actually getting access to your entire database, that would be much harder since the data is heavily encrypted by default. Even if the malware were to copy your database file to their computer remotely, they would not be able to crack it in any humanly feasible amount of time even with many fast computers.

It’s essential that the computer you use to compile all of this information is clean before you start. If you’re doing a lot of copying and pasting, malware can capture what’s in the clipboard before it gets into the encrypted database. Also, if someone can remotely control your computer, then they can open the programs (if left open) and get all the information they need. That’s why it’s also essential to close the database if you’re not using it (KeePass) and to set a short timeout if you are using the browser extension (LastPass).

With the LastPass browser extension, you can access everything right from your browser. This is convenient for logging into sites automatically, etc, but it also poses a big security risk. If someone takes over your computer and you’re logged into LastPass, they can just export a file with all logins and credentials and transfer it to themselves in a few minutes or less.

However, LastPass knows of all this and therefore has lots of security options. For example, if you close the browser, you can make sure that LastPass logs out meaning if someone else comes by and opens the browser, they’ll have to login again. You can also have it so that it logs out after a certain amount of idle time. I set this to a few minutes because I don’t want the ability for someone else to access my account while I’m not there and the browser window is open.

With KeePass, you also have quite a bit of security. The newest version even has the ability to confuse keyloggers installed on your machine so that they can’t actually capture the data you type into any of the fields. In addition to a master password, you can use key files. A key file is a file that is stored on an external device and needs to be used in addition to the master password to open the database. Lastly, you can link the database to your Windows account too, so even with the password and key file, you would aso have to be logged into that particular user account.

That’s why pretty much everyone uses one of these two options for storing secure login information. If you don’t want to use any digital option, then simply write everything down on paper. I would highly advise against using a program like Word and then printing the file. The main issue being that while you are creating the file, it’s wide open to attack and not encrypted. Plus you have the chance of forgetting about it altogether, thereby opening yourself up to all kinds of problems. It will obviously take quite a bit of time to compile the list, so it’s best to use something secure while you do it.

At a later point, after exporting the database to a printed version, you could delete the database or online account if you really felt uncomfortable.

Thirdly, Get a Lawyer

Unfortunately, the real world and the digital world are interconnected. When someone dies, the bank will usually freeze their accounts. If you don’t have the correct financial power of attorney set up, your wife may not be able to access any money until after the estate is settled. This can add more stress to an already super-stressful situation.

A proper lawyer can get everything in order for you and can even be used to store your confidential master printed file or master password. What’s essential is getting all the power of attorneys setup correctly. A joint checking account will work, but that’s only if you have one bank account. In a case like mine, I have a bunch of bank accounts and only my name is on them. If I want her to take control, just giving her the login information will do nothing. Actually, it can cause more trouble because technically she’ll be breaking the law by accessing the accounts after my death.

Fourthly, Write a Guide & Store It

Lastly, you need to actually create something that someone non-technical can follow. The best way to do this is to write up a document that explains how things are setup, what accounts are important, how to access them, etc. Print this document and additionally, the list of all logins for everything and store this in a safe deposit box in a bank.

Do not store this at home, even in one of those home safes if possible. Why? Well, it’s just better to keep it in an official location that requires someone to actually walk into a public place. If you have a safe at home and there are people who know what’s inside, it could cause someone to do something rash like force your trusted person to open it for them. It’s probably a small chance, but the fact is that crazy stuff happens after someone dies sometimes and you don’t want to be dealing with that.

If you don’t want to actually store the entire password and login list in the safe deposit box, you can just keep the master password there or even just a single one time password, though that is a little riskier since it can only be used once and if someone gets locked out after that without getting the proper information, then they won’t ever be able to get back in.

Conclusion

This is obviously not the only way or the best way to transfer your digital identity to someone else after your death, but it’s a first step and one that most people, including myself, have never even bothered to think about. My wife and I created a will long ago with a trust and power of attorneys, but I realized that was only half of what she’ll need to manage everything properly.

Let us know your thoughts if you’ve created a plan and what tools or processes you used for collecting and storing sensitive information. Enjoy!

Eleanore

Eleanore

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