“Spring Cleaning” describes the process of cleaning out one’s house before the summer arrives. Yet in today’s age of all-things-digital, online “spring cleaning” is becoming increasingly necessary. Aside from making your computer work faster, cleaning your computer files from time to time can also help protect you from data breaches. In March of 2017, just in time for the launch of the spring season, digital technology expert #Ryan Merchant, the Senior Manager at the password manager company Dashlane, released several tips for helping people keep their online file safe and he was happy to discuss ways to stay safe online.

Technology

Blasting News (BN): How did you get interested in a career in #Digital Technology?

Ryan Merchant (RM): Tech was ingrained in my life at a very early age.

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I was fortunate to attend an elementary school that had one of the leading technology magnet programs in the country. That pushed me to pursue the latest and greatest in tech throughout my life.

BN: What digital trends do you find the most interesting and/or bizarre?

RM: I don’t get Snapchat. Given that most of their users are under 25, I’m curious to see if they can evolve as a company. I’m also curious to see where the AI and AR/VR worlds will be in ten years.

BN: What do you do for Dashlane?

RM: I work on the Organic Marketing team and my core responsibilities revolve around our marketing and external communications. The great part is that it lets me get involved in almost every aspect of our business. One week I might manage the launch of a new product, the next week work with a Fortune 100 company on a partnership, and the next attend a B2B event in Europe.

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BN: How did you recognize the necessity of digital cleaning/password security?

RM: The combination of my interest in tech, as well as my background in security, means that I’m more paranoid on these issues than most. Technology has been manipulated for malicious purposes and I recognized early on that there are people and organizations who have no problems exploiting it for their own gains.

Security

BN: Of all your suggestions, which do you consider to be the most vitally important?

RM: You MUST have a different password for every account. Our data shows that the average person has over 100 online accounts so the chances of getting exploited are extremely high. It’s impossible to remember 100+ unique and secure passwords, which where password managers come in handy. Also, if you never delete the login detail emails from your email account, you have created a gold mine for hackers. All they have to do is get into your email and then they have access to every service or website you’ve used.

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BN: What are some of the wildest "scammer/spammer" stories you have heard?

RM: The funnier ones are often the phishing emails that contain poor English or egregious misspellings of my name. On the scarier side, our company received an email that was allegedly from one of our vendors that asked an employee to click a link to access an invoice. The scam email came from the actual vendor’s email and was sent on the day of the month they normally emailed us our invoices. However, this particular email was sent in a slightly different format. Thankfully, our employees have been trained to spot this type of attack so he didn’t click any of the link and alerted our security team as well our vendor that he had been hacked.

BN: What are the most challenging aspects of keeping up with internet security?

RM: The speed at which the technology is changing is the greatest challenge. By nature, cyber-security is usually reactive, so by the time we’ve assessed and iterated for a specific threat, cyber criminals have moved on to new practices. We’re now making big inroads into the B2B space and will have some exciting product news on this front later in the year. We also announced partnerships with some big companies in 2016 and will have more coming this year as well. #Computer Safety