Facebook was, once again, involved in a major security breach this week: apparently, more than 400 million of its users’ passwords were stored on an unprotected server and leaked online. This may not have seemed a major problem for many but if you think of how many of these people use the same password for their Facebook and other services like email, e-wallets, and such, the problem is becoming pretty big. There are many who use the same secure passwords in online casinos and their PayPal account, their Facebook, SnapChat, and email simply because they find it easier to remember. This Digital Guardian survey unveiled a few disturbing details about security: more than half of the respondents use weak passwords, and at least 11% of them use the same password in all their online accounts – simply because they are easy to remember. Plus, half of them don’t use two-factor authentication, and just a small percentage uses password managers to “remember” their passwords for them.
A secure, complex password looks at least something like this: 22SH!lhw4q^0 (at least 12 characters, including capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters). Let’s face it, though, these are hard to remember – even harder when you have several sensitive accounts (payment services, business services, company cloud, business email, perhaps even your websites’ control panel) to secure. This is where password managers come in: they do the remembering for you. In most cases, you’ll make do with a single “master” password that you’ll have to memorize – all the others will be stored securely by the program. And before you argue that like all other online services, password managers can be hacked into, fear not – the good ones store all passwords encrypted in the cloud, safely out of the hands of attackers.
The most-used password managers today
The four most-used password managers today are LastPass, 1Password, KeePassX, and Dashlane. They do pretty much the same: they sit there on your computer or smartphone, integrated with web browsers or as a standalone app, and fill your passwords whenever necessary. They usually come with a free and a “premium” version – the free versions are fully functional and will take care of most of your everyday needs, while the premium versions come with extra features like encrypted file storage for keeping your sensitive files safe, sharing passwords across user groups, automatic backups to the cloud, and other advanced features.
Keeping your passwords complex can keep you safer online, and keeping these passwords in a secure password manager will help you with your peace of mind: you won’t have to worry about forgetting the password to your individual services – all you’ll have to do is keep one master password in mind. The password manager will take care of the rest.