5 Reasons to Start Using a Password Manager Now
You’ve likely heard that you should use a strong, unique password for every site or service you use. Crazy right? Using a different password every time you sign up to a website is one of the best ways to improve your digital security. But how are you supposed to remember all of those passwords? That’s where a password manager can help; they’re essentially a secure way to store important information like a password, credit card details, or documents. Keep reading on to discover the benefits of using a password manager.
Strong, unique passwords, not a problem
Password managers – like 1Password or LastPass – can generate strong (hard to guess) and unique passwords for you. This is great for your digital security for many reasons. Firstly, you stop using weak passwords like 123456 or password (you’ll be surprised how many people use these as their password), which makes it more difficult for hackers to brute-force your account. Secondly, if one website has a data breach where your password is exposed, your accounts elsewhere aren’t compromised too because you’ve used a different password. These are two excellent reasons to get a password manager now.
Just remember one super strong passphrase
Each password manager will function slightly different from brand to brand, but essentially your passwords – and other important information – is secured using a method called encryption and this data is protected by a single password (or passphrase) that you remember. You can think of a password manager like an extra brain that is able to remember and never forgot an unlimited number of passwords. Your actual brain needs to remember just the one. An important point here is that you use a super-secure password to access your data, such a string of random but memorable words like blue-horse-pineapple-tree; the longer the password, the more secure your data will be.
Easily share passwords
Do you have accounts like utilities and services that more than one person needs access to? If so, it can be a challenge to securely tell someone the password for an account. But using a password manager can solve this issue. Some managers allow you to store your encrypted data on their servers and provide access to the people you choose. They can then securely access a password for an account without having to write it down or having to send it by SMS or email.
Lower the risk of a phishing attack
Another great feature of many passwords managers is that they can help prevent phishing attacks. A phishing attack is when a bad actor creates a copy of another website - like your bank or social media account - to try and trick a visit into providing their username and passwords. By doing so, the bad actor receives the entered information and potentially gains access to the account. This is the reason why a friend on Facebook may have posted strange content, their account was compromised. This can be prevented as password managers will usually only complete a username and password for the correct website, not a fake or copy.
Using Facebook as an example again, a bad actor may send you to the domain faceboook.com (this is not Facebook’s domain) but a user may not notice this slight change. This fake site would usually look EXACTLY the same. So, anyone not using a password manager might enter their login information here without realising, ultimately sharing it with the bad actor. Using a password manager can help as the software would not fill in the login details for the Facebook account because it does not recognise the domain name (faceboook.com); this can prompt the user to investigate the site they’re visiting in more detail, where they discover they’re not actually on facebook.com. There are also other ways you can prevent falling foul to a phishing attack.
2FA for even more secure accounts
You’ve heard of two-factor authentication (2FA), right? If you haven’t, you’ve likely encountered it before though. Banks and other companies may text you a code to verify it’s you taking an action, like a credit card purchase. This code is the “second” factor of authentication. The first would be your credit card details or for websites, the username and password. Using 2FA can improve your digital security as its harder for bad actors to gain access to your accounts. There are issues with using SMS based 2FA however, and some of the other options can be a hassle to use.
A password manager like 1Password can make using 2FA a breeze. The software will first auto-complete your username and password. Once this has been verified by the website, it’ll ask for your 2FA code that the password manager provides. It’s a seamless way of using 2FA security on accounts.
That’s it, our five reasons to start using a password manager now. If your serious about improving your digital security, this is probably one of the more useful ways to enhance your online security. It may take a bit of time to become familiar with a password manager, but it’s well worth the effort. Looking for another easy digital security win? Check out our article about webcam security.