As technology continues to dominate the world, security and convenience may appear to be the antithesis to each other. For example, passwords still play a pervasive role. Experts continue to advise on how to protect them best. They are, after all, usually the only things standing between secure accounts and malicious actors.
The problem with passwords is that they seem to be harder to protect than people realize. Everyone needs to have so many of them these days that they cannot bother thinking about the best cybersecurity practices.
According to SplashData’s annual list of 100 worst passwords, nothing has changed in the past decade. Even a massive increase in data breaches didn’t help. Though, it has sparked a fresh wave of commentary on password safety.
People might scoff at movies where hackers get into important servers because the password was “password.” But it’s not even funny; it’s close to what happens in real life. That’s why it’s essential to take a look at password managers and how they can help cure the world’s password problems.
What Do Strong Passwords Look Like?
According to Google, a strong password needs to be at least 8 characters long and shouldn’t contain any personal info. For instance, never use a nickname or birthday in a password. The company also recommends that people choose something memorable to them, to make the password longer. It can be lyrics from a song or a quote from a movie, for instance.
HowToGeek provides similar advice. They say that a password should be a unique yet memorable phrase instead of a word. They also state that a minimum of 12 characters is better. It’s good to throw in a few symbols and different-case letters in there for good measure too.
And, of course, EVERY cybersecurity expert insists on never using the same password for more than one account. And that is what makes everything so complicated. It’s challenging to remember a unique password for one account. And since the average person has around 90 accounts and thus should have j as many passwords, remembering them for every account and app can be pretty much impossible. That’s where password managers come in.
How Can Password Managers Help?
Imagine a password manager as being a secure safe where people can store their valuable passwords. All a person has to remember is the main or “master” password they need to access that safe.
Some say that having one password to protect all other passwords isn’t secure. That’s a reasonable concern. If a criminal should get hold of that one password, then it does jeopardize all the others.
But following safety precautions can play a significant role here. As long as you use secure, unique master passwords that you don’t share or use anywhere else — you should be safe. After all, password managers use robust encryption methods to ensure your data stays protected. At least, the trustworthy ones do.
Plus, most password managers enable two-factor authentication. That means you can use an extra PIN or biometric authentication method to make sure your credentials stay safe. It helps even in case someone discovers your master password.
Why Using a Password Manager is Better
Everyone struggles to remember a unique password for each of their accounts. That alone makes having a secure platform doing that for them a much better option.
Not only password managers store passwords, but they also help create new, more secure ones for your accounts. They can also replace old passwords with the new ones. It can be a massive help for employees who need to conform to company policies and regularly change their passwords. Though, it’s good practice to do this every once in a while in any case.
Remembering a password (or security question, which you can keep on password managers too) then becomes as easy as opening up any software or app. Some password managers also come with browser extensions and can fill in passwords for you. Then it’s as convenient as saving passwords to the browser, only way more secure.
There are password managers available for every platform too. For example, you can get a dedicated iOS password manager on your phone and Chrome addon for your desktop browser. Most premium password managers can sync across devices, so no one has to write a password down ever again. Or add it to a password manager twice for that matter.
Developments in the field of authentication are leading to new methods of login that don’t rely as much on passwords. But for now, it is still the most popular authentication method out there. So you need to be careful with your passwords. Password managers can help a lot in this regard. And they are a whole lot better than reusing weak passwords or recycling the same password across different accounts.