Every website seems to need an email and password before using it. This has led to an email address to be associated with up to 140 online accounts on average. That’s a lot of passwords to remember. Clients have asked us in the past if a password manager is the best way to keep their login credentials safe? Today we want to answer that question.
What Is A Password Manager & Do We Use Them?
A password manager will store your login credentials and autofill them into the appropriate websites when finished. Some will even suggest extremely jumbled passwords when creating an account to secure it better. The question remains: Is this a good idea?
In short: yes, it is. Password managers are the best way to store your login credentials. They are the safest way to keep your passwords for a few reasons. Here’s why:
The Safest Way To Store Passwords
Password managers store your data in a secure digital vault; think of Fort Knox. There is only one single password to access it, like a combination on a safe. Most password managers will give the option to turn on two-step authentication. We recommend this because it is an extra security measure. Even if you have the right password to access the vault, you will be required to enter a code. This code is typically sent in the form of a text message to verify who you are in real-time. This is like showing your driver’s license at airport security so they can verify who you are.
As mentioned earlier, password managers let you use unique, strong passwords everywhere. It is likely you won’t remember: W!nbu.30J_p. This is a hard password to crack, and social engineering won’t reveal it as if you set your password after your favorite dog’s name and your anniversary. The result is your online account security will get a boost. Instead of remembering several passwords, you need to remember the one to access the vault.
Now there is a level of trust that you have to have in order to store your passwords online, where you can’t see them. For the most part, password managers are incredibly robust. Most modern ‘hacks’ are executed successfully when victims reuse the same password for several accounts. Password managers mitigate this threat when using strong passwords that you otherwise wouldn’t have remembered.
How Secure Is Secure?
Password managers are secure because of the encryption they employ to scramble data. You may have seen them advertise ‘military-grade encryption’ in their advertising. You don’t need to enter your master password on some devices because you can unlock the vault with biometrics such as Face ID or Touch ID on Apple devices.
Most managers won’t have access to your master password because it doesn’t leave your phone. They want to have ‘zero-knowledge’ of your passwords. If someone were to breach their systems – the thief would be left with a jumble of nonsensical characters. The information is useless without the key.
These companies can now change their code to retain your master password and have access to your data. However, this is unlikely, and the companies are often audited for security. There is a risk, but there is a risk with any program you use. Like the Swiss banking industry – discretion is an important factor in their business.
We Use Password Managers
We use passwords here at Computer Warriors. Lastpass and Keeper are great options, but there are others available. Check out a full comparison of prices and features here. Now you may be thinking, my Chrome or Safari browser retain my login information, why pay for it? These managers are decent and getting better but don’t have a lot of features like other managers.
Lastly, some of our clients have a book of passwords with all their essential information. This is another form of protection but doesn’t give you the access or security that a manager does. For example, what happens if you don’t have that book and need to access an account? Or if something happens to that book? Password managers can be updated in real-time and be accessed from anywhere with an Internet connection.
If you found this article interesting or helpful, check out our other posts!