Online Security Essentials
When it comes to online security, strong passwords are a must. They pretty much act as the gatekeepers of your personal and financial data. However, not many people take these “gatekeepers” serious enough since 86% of passwords are very weak.
What can you do about that?
Coming up with a strong password is an answer, but using a password manager is an even better option.
What is a Password Manager & How Does it Work?
Like the name implies, a password manager is software that stores and manages your passwords. They are very useful if you have multiple accounts with different passwords for each one (like you should), or if you just want to keep a specific password safe.
As for how password managers work, they basically encrypt all your passwords, and keep them safe behind a master password.
Now, you’ll need to remember the master password, so writing it down and keeping the piece of paper or notebook in a safe place is necessary.
How do you access your passwords, though?
Well, the process is very straightforward. Most password managers offer browser extensions. You just need to install them, log in, and the manager will automatically fill password fields when you visit websites where you need to log in. You won’t need to type or copy a thing.
What’s more, password managers can even synchronize your login credentials across devices. That means you’re not restricted to securely accessing your accounts with a single device, like your computer. You can also use your laptop, tablet, or mobile phone.
Why You Should Start Using a Password Manager Today
Not fully convinced you to need a password manager? Here are some benefits that might change your mind:
You Can Use Very Strong Passwords
Most people use pretty short passwords because they’re afraid they’ll forget long, complex ones. According to data, the most popular passwords of 2018 were all under 10 characters long.
That’s pretty bad since really secure passwords are at least 15 characters long, if not more. Of course, keeping track of them can be tiring and confusing.
I mean, let’s face it – a password like “foot456” is way easier to remember than something like “IutgtVe2bi5wwmfD.”
Well, with a password manager that’s no longer a problem. The software can remember all your passwords for you. All you’ll need to do is keep track of the master password.
They Streamline the Login Process
You’ll no longer need to manually type in long and hard-to-remember passwords whenever you want to check your email, stock portfolio, or bank account.
Password managers have auto-fill features – whenever you need to log in, you can just rely on them to automatically copy the right password in the login field.
Not only is that extremely convenient, but it also makes it impossible for a cybercriminal to use a keylogger to steal your passwords. Sure, that’s not something likely to happen in your own home (unless you live in a risky neighborhood), but it can happen when you travel and need to use a public computer.
You Can Quickly Generate New Passwords
Coming up with a new password that’s long and secure isn’t a walk in the park. You’ve got a lot of things to keep track of – how you alternate lowercase letters with uppercase ones, how you add symbols and numbers in the mix, making sure you don’t include dictionary words, and so on.
If you’ve got multiple accounts, coming up with new passwords can get tiring fast.
Luckily, many password managers offer their own built-in password generator – like 1Password’s generator, for instance. You just need to tweak a few settings, and you’ll automatically get a new password in seconds.
Changing Passwords is Extremely Simple
Changing passwords on a regular basis (like every month) is a good idea if you want to keep your accounts really secure.
Well, what used to be an annoying chore now turns into a simple task if you use a password manager. To change a password, you mostly just need to log into your account, pick the password you want to change, edit it, and save it.
If the manager has its own password generator, things become even simpler since you don’t need to come up with a password from scratch.
What’s more, some password managers go as far as monitoring security breaches and alerting you if any of your existing passwords are at risk and need to be changed.
They Can Safely Store Other Data
Despite the name, password managers don’t store only passwords.
You can actually use them to protect data like password recovery questions, usernames, credit card info, membership cards, and important notes – just to name a few examples.
So, they’re very versatile and can save you a lot of headache since you won’t need to keep track of so many things.
How to Find the Right Password Manager
Since you’re entrusting this software with such sensitive information, you need to make sure it’s reliable. When choosing a password manager, you need to consider many things:
- What kinds of features it has (auto-fill, password generator, biometric security, etc.).
- Whether it’s free or not.
- What platforms it works on.
- If it offers 2FA authentication.
- What kind of encryption they use.
Whew, those definitely are a lot of things to keep in mind.
Well yeah since you need to do plenty of research to make sure you pick a good password manager that can protect your data. If you don’t do your homework, you can end up using a password manager that leaks your data.
Ouch, that’s concerning, but not surprising. Managing tons of powerful passwords is hard, and a password manager will take the guesswork out of it as long as you pick a reliable service.
So be sure to follow the link I left if you want to save tons of time and effort with a clear overview of the best password managers on the market.
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