Password managers are secure apps used to store and protect our ever-increasing list of passwords. Passwords have permeated nearly every aspect of modern life. They may be an ancient technology, but they are still the front line in the protection of our private and personal data. And we are terrible at using them.
Every website or app that we log in to requires a password. Is it any wonder then that many of us start using the same passwords over and over? I mean, there’s only so many passwords I can remember before I have to start writing them down somewhere. That’s where password managers come in.
Rather than using the same passwords over and over, and short of having some sort of brain implant to help remember them all, a password manager is an easy, convenient way to store and retrieve all your passwords, any time you need them.
How Do Password Managers Work?
A password manager is a vault for all your passwords. Your only job is to remember the one password needed to access it. Of course, that password should be as secure as possible.
Password managers can be used to generate strong, unique passwords whenever they are required. Once your new password is saved, the password manager then encrypts the password and syncs it across all your other devices. So whether you’re on your work computer, your home tablet, or on your mobile phone, you can access all your passwords whenever you need them. They can also be used to store any information you want to keep private but accessible, like credit card numbers.
Are Password Managers Secure?
If you’re anything like me, you are probably thinking “If I store all my passwords in the one place, isn’t that just asking to be hacked?” If that is you, check out A Skeptics Guide to Password Managers and Security which makes a great case for password managers. To summarise:
Many of us were taught at a young age to never put all your eggs in one basket. It’s great advice, but as our CEO, Emmanuel Schalit, put it: “Sometimes, it’s better to put all your eggs in the same basket if that basket is more secure than the one you would be able to build on your own.”
Password managers are custom-built to keep your passwords secure. Most of them have features for additional layers of protection, like two-factor authentication and ensuring that your master password isn’t stored anywhere on your computer for hackers to find.
With all the bells and whistles switched on, password managers are exponentially more secure than a note on your mobile phone, or post-its around your work station.
Which Password Manager Should I Use?
You can start using LastPass now, for free. The free version has all the features you need to secure and access your passwords, including cross-device syncing. The Premium version only costs US$12/year and allows you to share a password folder with up to five family members. There is also an Enterprise version, allowing different levels of password sharing throughout a business.
I’ve been using LastPass for a few years now, and it is unbelievably convenient and easy to use. For that extra layer of security, I’ve set up two-factor authentication, so even if a hacker manages to crack my master password, they would still need my mobile phone to get access to my passwords. And with that, I am confident my passwords are secure.
The nature of cyber threats has changed dramatically over the past few years, but it’s a fact that cybersecurity has never been more of a necessity. 2016 is being dubbed The Year of Ransomeware, and already in 2017 we’re seeing an escalation of those threats. The ‘it won’t happen to me’ attitude is certainly not sustainable for you or your business. It’s past time to start taking steps to protect your data. The first step is to install a Password Manager like LastPass and start updating your passwords to be unique and secure.