We all know that passwords are not the perfect security measure as most people’s passwords are weak, easy to crack, and offer little protection. But are Password Managers the right solution to the problem of passwords?
The Problem With Passwords
The problem with passwords is that in the internet age a password needs to be long, complex and different for every online service. The problem with complex passwords is that they need to contain a random mix of numbers and letters. The biggest issue is that our brains are not wired to memorize many complex passwords
Hackers love passwords because most passwords are easy to crack. There are dozens of ways for crooks to learn your password and use it to hack your computer, steal your data and commit identity fraud.
Passwords do not work because most people do not have the time or inclination to change passwords regularly. In addition, many people have a hard time remembering their passwords and because of this choose weak passwords that make hackers’ work easier.
This is why you need a password manager.
What is a password manager?
A password manager is an app that generates and securely stores your login details and passwords for your online services such as shopping and social media. Password managers solve the serious issue of remembering long and complex passwords. They save time, improve security and reduce the real risk of identity theft.
Password managers solve the serious issue of remembering long and complex passwords.
A password manager stores a password and replaces can help you change your passwords regularly. Most managers generate long and complicated passwords at random to fool the bad guys.
Password managers solve the two major problems with passwords. The first problem is that many people cannot create complex and hard to guess passwords. Most password managers generate complex random passwords.
The second problem is that many people will not change passwords regularly. Changing passwords thwarts hackers because older passwords are more likely to be in crooks’ hands.
Changing the password makes the hacker’s job harder because he or she cannot steal and use your old passwords. Using a password manager could strengthen your passwords and make them more secure.
Why you should use a Password Manager?
If you use passwords, you need a password manager because you are human.
Most human beings are too lazy and undisciplined to change their passwords fast enough to thwart hackers. In addition, most people are too lazy and unimaginative to create a hard-to-crack password.
A password manager; on the other hand, will automatically create long and random-generated passwords. That will not stop all hackers, but it will make it significantly harder to steal your data.
Most crooks will move on to a new victim if they discover your password is hard to crack. There are millions of potential victims out there; and most criminals would rather search for easy pickings, rather than do the hard work necessary to crack a strong password.
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A password manager is only one layer of security. Wealthy or sophisticated criminals will get around managers.
If you want security, the password manager is just one of several security measures you need to use. Other effective security managers include personal identity numbers (PINS), two-factor authentication, encryption, screen locks, and plain-old fashioned common sense.
An example of a common-sense security measure is to not share data such as passwords, PINS, Social Security or credit card numbers on social media or email. Another sensible security measure is to use devices with strong encryption.
Relying on only a password manager for security is a great way to get hacked. Hackers can penetrate any app including your password manager.
A password manager is an additional layer of security, not total security. You will need to ensure that your device is not compromised by using anti-virus and antimalware programs and ensure they are up-to-date.
The Benefits of a Password Manager
- A password manager reduces your risk of losing money
- A password manager reduces your risk of identity theft
- They save you time by automatically logging you into websites
- You save time by never having to request a password reset again
- They audit your existing passwords and suggest security improvements
What are Safe Passwords?
A safe or strong password is usually long and hard to guess. Random-generated passwords are strongest because they are hard to guess.
The strongest passwords are those that have nothing to do with your personality or lifestyle. If you use your favorite sports team’s name or mascot as your password, for example.
A hacker could guess that password by examining your internet searches. To clarify the hacker could see what sports teams, you search for news about.
Easy-to-guess passwords include your name, your children’s names, or your pet’s names. Or the name of your high school and the date you graduated from it. Hackers can learn those things by running internet searches on you.
Shorter passwords, meanwhile, are easy for algorithms to identify. To explain, an algorithm can identify a password through raw computing power. The shorter the password, the easier it is for the algorithm to identify it.
Finally, there is no such thing as a safe password. A determined hacker with sufficient resources will crack any password, eventually. Password managers solve that problem by constantly changing passwords.
How to Use Password Managers
Before you use a password manager, you need to realize that a password manager can be a security threat.
The danger from password managers is that they can store all of your vital data in one place. A hacker who cracks your password manager could steal your credit card numbers, bank account number, passwords, phone number, Social Security number, address, and even your passport number.
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You need to limit the data you put into password managers, to keep it out of hackers’ hands. It is a good idea to never put bank account, credit card, Social Security, or passport numbers into password managers. Instead, only use the password manager to protect your passwords.
Another good suggestion is to never use a password manager to fill out forms. Instead, fill the forms out the old-fashioned way by typing in the data, or cutting and pasting.
The advantage to filling out forms is that there is no outside app, a password manager, is not storing your financial data or identification numbers. The disadvantage is that it will take more time to fill out forms.
Always remember that criminals know a password manager contains valuable data. That means crooks will target password managers and work hard to crack them. The bad guys can crack any security with time and hard work.
The only reason professional criminals have not cracked a password manager is that they have such high levels of security. However, as we have all seen, anything is hackable if professional cybercriminals try hard enough.
Are Password Managers Safe?
Some password managers contain excellent security measures that add an extra layer of protection for your data.
A fingerprint scanner could keep a crook who steals your phone from stealing your data. Password generators make hacking harder by regularly changing your passwords. Dark Web Scanning could spot nefarious use of your data and catch or deter crooks.
Merely adding security will deter some crooks because they have to work harder to get your data. Stronger encryption can make hacking and data theft harder.
Password managers, in the final analysis, offer an excellent layer of extra security. Adding a password manager can your accounts safe and secure.
The 5 Most Important Features of Password Managers
- Generating Strong Passwords
- Storing the Passwords Safely
- Automatically Filling Passwords for You
- Accessing your Passwords on your Smartphone
- 2 Factor Authentication -- Extra Security
How to choose a Good Password Manager
A good password manager offers several strong security features that most of us need.
The most important password manager feature is the random password generator. Changing your password regularly is the best cheap security measure most of us can take.
A second vital security feature is the two-factor authentication. Two factor authentication is important because it adds a second layer of security on top of your passwords. The best two-factor authentication features force you to identify yourself regularly.
Two-factor identification and random password generators combat one of the greatest threats to security: old-fashioned laziness. Most people are too lazy to follow good security procedures such as changing your passwords or identifying yourself.
Random password generators correct that problem by automatically changing your password for you. The two-factor identification features force you to identify yourself regularly.
A good way to think of two-factor identification as a sentry who challenges you when you try to enter a secure area. The sentry asks you to identify yourself, just as the two-factor identification does.
A great additional layer of security is biometric scanning, such as fingerprint scanning. Biometric scanners protect your devices from thieves by making them hard to crack. Thus, you need to have a fingerprint or other scanner on your phone and tablet.
Other measures such as encryption and dark web scanning offer higher levels of security. Encryption adds layers of security that make it harder to penetrate your data. Meanwhile, Dark Web Scanning tries to spot the bad guys at work by monitoring their communications.
No Password Manager is foolproof, but Password Managers can keep your data more secure. Understanding Password Managers and how they work can make your data and communications more secure.