Living in a world where technology is progressing at an unbelievable pace has brought many wonderful ways we can keep better organized, increase production, and communicate quicker with anyone from anywhere in the world.  While that has been great in many respects, these tools have opened up the door to more and more scam artists from all over the world.  They are seeking to get their hands on your personal information and use it for their profit and even in some cases to hold your information hostage.

Just this week in California a hospital’s computer system was hacked and they have been given a ransom demand to get back access to their data.  In a modern digital world this has just about shut this hospital down.  Additionally, the headlines the last couple of days have been that a judge has ordered Apple to break in to the phone of the San Bernardino terrorists to find evidence that could be critical to eliminating a terrorist threat on US soil.

We are literally spied on in everything we do online by the very browsers that give us access to the world.  It is no coincidence that when you start searching for a car online that all of a sudden the ads that appear on the pages you visit start being about cars, your Facebook page has ads about cars, and you might even get emails about cars.  If you look for an item on Amazon you will start seeing similar items everywhere on Amazon and may also even get emails when that item might be on sale.

How do we try to keep our privacy in a digital landscape? We try to put passwords on everything that is important to us or we allow some security firewall system that we trust to try to keep the bad guys out.  We now find that we have an impossible to keep track of list of passwords that affect everything that we do.  We have 2 or 3 passwords for things at work, passwords for all of our online accounts, passwords for all of our computers, and even passwords for our phones.

In a world where we are so concerned about privacy you might be wondering why the title of this post is, “Share Your Passwords…..Really.”  My father is a pastor and has officiated over thousands of funerals in his over 50 years as a minister.  In the last few years he has seen a new trend develop that in a modern world appears to be almost as important as having a solid will in place.  In the last month, he has had two men who have passed away suddenly with little to no time for preparation.  That happens every day and truth be told for most of us would prefer a quick death over a drawn out time of pain and suffering.  The problem with both of these men was that most of their personal information was on their phones and computers.

The families were left trying to find information that they didn’t have access to.  One man was from another country and a lot of the contact information for his relatives was locked on his phone.  The funeral had to be delayed because of the difficulty in contacting his family in a foreign land.  The other man was a long time treasurer for his church and kept a meticulous account of the church’s finances on his laptop.  When he suddenly died, that information was secure but out of the reach for his successor because no one knew his password.

The message I want to relay in this post is to find someone that you feel comfortable with and share your passwords with them.  Hopefully, that is your wife and the two of you share your phone, computer, and account passwords freely with each other.  If for some reason that is not, find another family member or trusted friend that will keep this information confidential.

Nobody likes to plan for the worst and often times we like to think that we are going to live forever.  If that invincibility plan does not work out wouldn’t it be a huge help to those you leave behind to have access to a part of you.  They would like to celebrate your life and not have to wonder if they will be able to track down all of your friends and accounts.

While we are talking about this topic, I will mention because it could be a full post on its own, it is really important to have a will in place in case you pass away.  Live today but be careful to plan for tomorrow.  Leave a legacy, not a mess.