Passwords are a huge pain in the neck, most people have dozens to manage, and memorizing them is beyond even Rain Man’s powers of recall.
A study by the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre revealed millions are using their pet’s name, favorite team names, ‘password’ and ‘123456’ to access online services.
But simple passwords leave you wide open to attack: cybercriminals can crack weak passwords in seconds using automated tools. A hacker needs roughly two seconds to crack an 11-character password made up of numbers. If the password is more complex, containing numbers, symbols and uppercase and lowercase letters, the time needed to break it jumps to 400 years.
Password manager apps resolve this problem by creating long and complex credentials for you, and remembering them the next time you log in.
Here’s everything you need to know.
Once you’ve downloaded a password manager, such as 1Password, NordPass, or Dashlane, you can follow the instructions to import your logins from somewhere else such as your browser. You can also start from scratch if you want.
After setup, the app can generate strong passwords for you for any new sites you use, and these will autofill as you browse. This solves one of the toughest aspects of password security: remembering lots of different complex credentials.
Since password managers take care of the remembering part, every password can be a long, totally random selection of characters.
Password managers also ensure you use a unique login for each account, rather than repeating them across services. This is crucial for preventing “credential-stuffing” attacks, which happen when a hacker uses your compromised password, for example from Facebook, to try to get into other well-known services you might use such as Netflix or Spotify.
You can use password managers to securely share a login with other trusted people in your company, reducing key-person risk.
The password manager will need a master password, which you’ll need to always remember. This should be as long and complex as possible, for example a phrase or set of memorable words mixed with random characters and numbers.
Setting up a password manager is a hassle, but you can do it gradually, changing passwords as you go. Once you have it set up it’ll save you the much greater hassle of resetting all the passwords you forget.
Need help implementing a password manager for your business? Contact us.