Password Security
Tips & Ideas

Why should I use a password manager?

Many people use very weak passwords and reuse them on different websites. How are you supposed to use strong, unique passwords on all the websites you use and remember them?

Your solution is a password manager.

Password managers store your login information for all the websites you use and help you log into the websites automatically. Password managers encrypt your password database with a master password and the master password is the only one you have to remember.

What is a password manager?

A password manager is a software you install on your computer or device that automatically creates strong passwords for you, so you don’t have to worry about creating a reliable and strong password every time you create a new account on a website. They also store all of your passwords in a single vault which you can be secured by your master password. Consequently, you need to remember only this one password for all your online accounts.

A password manager often comes with many other useful features like current passwords assessment, two-step authentication, plugins, autofill, for example.

Why do I need a password manager?

Using strong and unique passwords for your various websites is the key to your online security and privacy. This is because simple passwords that use a single word or even a combination of words, common patterns like “123456”, “1245” for example can be easily cracked by hackers.

Even passwords that replace obvious characters for letters are easy to crack or guess. Words like “p@ssw0rd” or “pa$$w@rd” aren’t going to mislead anyone or a bot for long.

As bad as using a simple password is, that weak security is increased exponentially if you are using the same password for all your online accounts. If any one of these sites or services gets compromised, then the attacker will have the information they need to access your other accounts too.

Strong passwords mean strong security, or at least stronger security for you online. Despite, not everyone knows how to create an impregnable password for different websites. If you do know how to create a strong password, it unlikely to remember all of them as they use special characters and numbers. Plus, various sites and services have different password requirements you have to try and keep track of.

A password manager eliminates the need to remember various passwords, but also ensures that your passwords are stored safely using encryption. This means that no one or no bot can access the passwords unless they know the master password for the password manager software.

What do Australians think about Password Managers?

In 2011, The Centre for Internet Safety at the University of Canberra conducted a survey of Australian attitudes toward password use and management. Some of the key findings are concerning for digital security.

  • More than three quarters (77%) of Australians have more than three online passwords
  • Nearly all (90%) of Australians are convinced others wouldn’t be able to guess their online passwords
  • Approximately two thirds (60%) of Australians use the same password across more than one of their online accounts
  • Nearly half (48%) of Australians only change their password when required to by a system
  • Nearly half (42%) of Australians have shared their password with a friend, family member or work co-worker
  • Over a third (36%)  of Australians remain logged into their online accounts

What are the pros and cons of password managers?

Here are just some of the main benefits of using a good password manager:

  • You no longer have to memorise passwords
  • Not having to go through the “I forgot my password” process
  • They can generate strong passwords for you as frequently as you need
  • They encrypt and store your passwords for you
  • They keep your passwords and user information close at hand whenever you need it
  • It can streamline a host of other processes as well
  • Create reliable and strong passwords in seconds
  • Autofill your login details on websites with just a single password
  • Two-step authentication for added security
  • Use the fingerprint scanner to access your passwords (eliminates the need for entering the master password each time)

However, there are some downsides that you should keep in mind, but knowing the downfalls can help you use your password manager as effectively and safely as possible:

  • If someone gets your master password and gains access to your password vault, they have ALL your information
  • Breaches can occur, even for major password manager companies and due to their very nature, are a target for cybercriminals
  • You still need to make sure you create a strong master password, change it frequently and keep it private.

Here are just some of the main benefits of using a good password manager:

  • You no longer have to memorise passwords
  • Not having to go through the “I forgot my password” process
  • They can generate strong passwords for you as frequently as you need
  • They encrypt and store your passwords for you
  • They keep your passwords and user information close at hand whenever you need it
  • It can streamline a host of other processes as well
  • Create reliable and strong passwords in seconds
  • Autofill your login details on websites with just a single password
  • Two-step authentication for added security
  • Use the fingerprint scanner to access your passwords (eliminates the need for entering the master password each time)

However, there are some downsides that you should keep in mind, but knowing the downfalls can help you use your password manager as effectively and safely as possible:

  • If someone gets your master password and gains access to your password vault, they have ALL your information
  • Breaches can occur, even for major password manager companies and due to their very nature, are a target for cybercriminals
  • You still need to make sure you create a strong master password, change it frequently and keep it private.

Choosing the right password manager

There is an abundance of reliable password managers on the internet. You must compare password managers and check out user reviews to make sure that you find the one that is best for you. One of the most important factors is that it be something simple and intuitive for you, otherwise, you won’t use it and risk your digital security.

As you contemplate which one is right for you, be sure to look for features like password encryption, two-step authentication, cross-platform support and sturdy security features.

The best password managers do not allow you to recover your master password, use two-factor authentication, they monitor your accounts for password breaches and weak passwords, they generate strong passwords for you, back up your passwords securely online and they let you use a fingerprint or face ID to log in on your smartphone.

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