How many websites are you signed up to? Bets are on that it is too many to manually track. Hands up – who uses the same password for every site? Let me assure you, you are not alone.
After all, who can remember hundreds of different passwords? Even if you use small changes between sites based on the same theme, you may still get them wrong sometimes, and managing all the different accounts can get confusing.
Each week in the press there seems to be yet another story about online data breaches. If the cyber criminals get their hands on your favourite password, your online security is in trouble across the board. They can search your history and access any of your accounts, including those with sensitive information.
Enter the password manager
If you are not already using a password manager, you may as well leave your purse or wallet on view in a busy street in an unlocked car. It’s asking to be stolen.
A password manager acts like a protective car park attendant online, looking after the security of your sites and keeping the bad guys at bay. It stores all your different login passwords everywhere you go online and allows you to log in automatically.
With a password manager, all passwords will be encrypted, leaving you to remember just one master password. Make sure all your passwords are different and as random as possible ‐ your password manager won’t mind how complicated they are.
Increase protection with tips and tricks
To get the most from your password manager, combine it with these six simple tips:
- Make sure your master password is totally original and quite complicated.
- Confirm that your password manager uses encrypted algorithms based on AES – 128, 196, and 256, as these have been proven to particularly secure.
- Clear your history if you have used it to temporarily store passwords.
- If given the option, purge your new password from memory.
- Store passwords and software on a USB device, and back it up elsewhere in case you lose it.
- Some password managers have a virtual keyboard – use this to enter the master password when all browsers are closed as it prevents the information from being captured by malware.
Take your pick
Perform a Google search for “password manager” and you’ll be inundated with different options. We’ve cherry picked our favourites to help you make this important decision.
There’s a reason why LastPass is top of the list for many users. This powerful, cloud‐based password manager has a whole heap of security options, including a variety of two‐factor authentication options. With extension, mobile and desktop apps available for all operating systems, ensuring that no one else can access your password store. All passwords are decrypted by the app and then encrypted when you log in, so LastPass never really sees them.
Not only can you automatically generate and save your new passwords, you can also store all your different IDs, personal information, and credit cards, which you can then choose to autofill on any website. Of course, it’s all encrypted as standard, but what makes Dashline different is that it uses colour coding, matching the website log‐in information pages with the colours of the websites. This makes each site easy to find when browsing accounts. Dashline also features two‐factor authentication and the ability to share passwords with emergency contacts.
Another popular option, KeePass offers an encrypted database that you control, so it’s never uploaded or synced unless you choose request it. It’s portable, so you can open the app on multiple devices. The password generator will allow you to change and develop strong passwords. You can configure the database with multiple keys, so emergency users can access them if need be. KeePass works across different browsers, devices, and platforms, and its auto‐type functionality operates in all windows and browsers, meaning the program is able to log in to sites that other password managers can’t.
Not using a password manager is like leaving your front door unlocked while you are out of the house. It’s reasonably unlikely that anyone will just walk in, but you are making it much easier for opportunists. Protect your online treasures by securely locking that door today.
Image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/nickimm/ – CC BY 2.0