Online Security Essentials - Why You Need to Start Securing Your Data with Password Managers

Worried your passwords aren’t strong enough and think you can’t deal with long passwords? A password manager is the answer. Here’s all you need to know.

Online Security Essentials - Why You Need to Start Securing Your Data with Password Managers

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:

  1. 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.

    padlock -data security

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

    finder print and password security

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.

Check the comment section below for additional information, share what you know, or ask a question about this article by leaving a comment below. And, to quickly find answers to your questions, use our search Search engine.

Note: Some of the information in samples on this website may have been impersonated or spoofed.

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Online Threat Alerts Security Tips

Pay the safest way

Credit cards are the safest way to pay for online purchases because you can dispute the charges if you never get the goods or services or if the offer was misrepresented. Federal law limits your liability to $50 if someone makes unauthorized charges to your account, and most credit card issuers will remove them completely if you report the problem promptly.

Guard your personal information

In any transaction you conduct, make sure to check with your state or local consumer protection agency and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see if the seller, charity, company, or organization is credible. Be especially wary if the entity is unfamiliar to you. Always call the number found on a website’s contact information to make sure the number legitimately belongs to the entity you are dealing with.

Be careful of the information you share

Never give out your codes, passwords or personal information, unless you are sure of who you're dealing with

Know who you’re dealing with

Crooks pretending to be from companies you do business with may call or send an email, claiming they need to verify your personal information. Don’t provide your credit card or bank account number unless you are actually paying for something and know who you are sending payment to. Your social security number should not be necessary unless you are applying for credit. Be especially suspicious if someone claiming to be from a company with whom you have an account asks for information that the business already has.

Check your accounts

Regularly check your account transactions and report any suspicious or unauthorised transactions.

Don’t believe promises of easy money

If someone claims that you can earn money with little or no work, get a loan or credit card even if you have bad credit, or make money on an investment with little or no risk, it’s probably a scam. Oftentimes, offers that seem too good to be true, actually are too good to be true.

Do not open email from people you don’t know

If you are unsure whether an email you received is legitimate, try contacting the sender directly via other means. Do not click on any links in an email unless you are sure it is safe.

Think before you click

If an email or text message looks suspicious, don’t open any attachments or click on the links.

Verify urgent requests or unsolicited emails, messages or phone calls before you respond

If you receive a message or a phone call asking for immediate action and don't know the sender, it could be a phishing message.

Be careful with links and new website addresses

Malicious website addresses may appear almost identical to legitimate sites. Scammers often use a slight variation in spelling or logo to lure you. Malicious links can also come from friends whose email has unknowingly been compromised, so be careful.

Secure your personal information

Before providing any personal information, such as your date of birth, Social Security number, account numbers, and passwords, be sure the website is secure.

Stay informed on the latest cyber threats

Keep yourself up to date on current scams by visiting this website daily.

Use Strong Passwords

Strong passwords are critical to online security.

Keep your software up to date and maintain preventative software programs

Keep all of your software applications up to date on your computers and mobile devices. Install software that provides antivirus, firewall, and email filter services.

Update the operating systems on your electronic devices

Make sure your operating systems (OSs) and applications are up to date on all of your electronic devices. Older and unpatched versions of OSs and software are the target of many hacks. Read the CISA security tip on Understanding Patches and Software Updates for more information.

What if You Got Scammed?

Stop Contact With The Scammer

Hang up the phone. Do not reply to emails, messages, or letters that the scammer sends. Do not make any more payments to the scammer. Beware of additional scammers who may contact you claiming they can help you get your lost money back.

Secure Your Finances

  • Report potentially compromised bank account, credit or debit card information to your financial institution(s) immediately. They may be able to cancel or reverse fraudulent transactions.
  • Notify the three major credit bureaus. They can add a fraud alert to warn potential credit grantors that you may be a victim of identity theft. You may also want to consider placing a free security freeze on your credit report. Doing so prevents lenders and others from accessing your credit report entirely, which will prevent them from extending credit:

Check Your Computer

If your computer was accessed or otherwise affected by a scam, check to make sure that your anti-virus is up-to-date and running and that your system is free of malware and keylogging software. You may also need to seek the help of a computer repair company. Consider utilizing the Better Business Bureau’s website to find a reputable company.

Change Your Account Passwords

Update your bank, credit card, social media, and email account passwords to try to limit further unauthorized access. Make sure to choose strong passwords when changing account passwords.

Report The Scam

Reporting helps protect others. While agencies can’t always track down perpetrators of crimes against scammers, they can utilize the information gathered to record patterns of abuse which may lead to action being taken against a company or industry.

Report your issue to the following agencies based on the nature of the scam:

  • Local Law Enforcement: Consumers are encouraged to report scams to their local police department or sheriff’s office, especially if you lost money or property or had your identity compromised.
  • Federal Trade Commission: Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or use the Online Complaint Assistant to report various types of fraud, including counterfeit checks, lottery or sweepstakes scams, and more.
  • If someone is using your personal information, like your Social Security, credit card, or bank account number, to open new accounts, make purchases, or get a tax refund, report it at This federal government site will also help you create your Identity Theft Report and a personal recovery plan based on your situation. Questions can be directed to 877-ID THEFT.

How To Recognize a Phishing Scam

Scammers use email or text messages to try to steal your passwords, account numbers, or Social Security numbers. If they get that information, they could get access to your email, bank, or other accounts. Or they could sell your information to other scammers. Scammers launch thousands of phishing attacks like these every day — and they’re often successful.

Scammers often update their tactics to keep up with the latest news or trends, but here are some common tactics used in phishing emails or text messages:

Phishing emails and text messages often tell a story to trick you into clicking on a link or opening an attachment. You might get an unexpected email or text message that looks like it’s from a company you know or trust, like a bank or a credit card or utility company. Or maybe it’s from an online payment website or app. The message could be from a scammer, who might

  • say they’ve noticed some suspicious activity or log-in attempts — they haven’t
  • claim there’s a problem with your account or your payment information — there isn’t
  • say you need to confirm some personal or financial information — you don’t
  • include an invoice you don’t recognize — it’s fake
  • want you to click on a link to make a payment — but the link has malware
  • say you’re eligible to register for a government refund — it’s a scam
  • offer a coupon for free stuff — it’s not real

About Online Threat Alerts (OTA)

Online Threat Alerts or OTA is an anti-cybercrime community that started in 2012. OTA alerts the public to cyber crimes and other web threats.

By alerting the public, we have prevented a lot of online users from getting scammed or becoming victims of cybercrimes.

With the ever-increasing number of people going online, it important to have a community like OTA that continuously alerts or protects those same people from cyber-criminals, scammers and hackers, who are every day finding new ways of carrying out their malicious activities.

Online users can help by reporting suspicious or malicious messages or websites to OTA. And, if they want to determine if a message or website is a threat or scam, they can use OTA's search engine to search for the website or parts of the message for information.

Help maintain Online Threat Alerts (OTA).

Online Security Essentials - Why You Need to Start Securing Your Data with Password Managers