A very large majority of people have weak passwords and reuse the same password across different websites and applications. Using the same password might be easier for you to remember, but is it worth the security risks? Even if you have a strong 14 character password with capital letters, numbers, and special characters, reusing that password means taking a big risk. So what’s the solution? Use a password management software.
Password management software will store your passwords and other login information from the websites and apps you use. Instead of remembering dozens of strong passwords, using a password management software makes it so you only need to remember 1, your master password.
What Are The Risks?
If you use the same password across several websites, it only takes one leak for your data to be compromised across all those websites. Even worse if you use the same password for your email account. With access to your email account, even logins with a different password become vulnerable.
Everyday sites have data and password leaks, and User information becomes available for unauthorized Internet Users to see or purchase. Even the biggest websites and companies aren’t immune to password leaks and security breaches. These companies, among many others, have suffered recent data leaks:
- Sony’s Playstation Network
Chances are, you have an account on one of the websites listed here. Feeling worried yet? In 2019 there were more than major 811 data breaches reported, which affected over 493 million accounts. Most of which had their information sold. Large sites are a common target for malicious activity.
What Information Is At Risk?
Depending on the severity of a data leak, and the information that you’ve given to a website, the following information may be at risk or already publicly available:
- Your email address
- The login information to other websites you visit
- Your social media accounts
- Your bank and credit/debit card information
- Answers to your security questions
- Your location information
- Your Home Address
- Your online purchase history
Online privacy is important, so you should do what you can to protect yours.
What Makes A Strong Password?
While creating an account, you may have been prompted with a message similar to “your password is too weak.” As annoying as these prompts may be, they help keep your online account safe from brute force attacks and simple guessing.
There are many ways for your account to be compromised beyond just data breaches. One of the most commonly used methods is a brute force attack, also known as exhaustive search attacks. This type of attack works by running a script that will continuously try different character combinations until it finds your password. Depending on the length and complexity of your password, this type of attack can take seconds to years to break into your account.
The two most commonly used types of brute force attacks are dictionary attacks, and credential surfing attacks. Dictionary attacks use the most common words or passwords and make variations until it can find the correct password. Credential surfing attacks occur when there is already a known login confirmed by the attacker. Attacker software can then search the internet for other data breaches or data specific to a certain user to find a reused password.
Recently, dictionary attacks have become more complex and are used in tandem with credential surfing attacks. With your email address, an attacker can find your social media profiles and feed that information to run an educated dictionary attack individualized to you based on your lifestyle and most used words.
Brute force attacks don’t take much computer power, and anyone can do them. If you think your password is secure, use this tool to see how long it would take for a computer in 2007 to crack your password.
Here’s the time it would take to crack a password with capital letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters using a brute force attack:
|Number of Characters
||Time To Crack
||Less than a Second
||Less than a Second
||Less than a Second
For accounts that you use frequently that hold valuable information, you can see why having a complicated, and long password is important. Still, in 2020, the 2 most common passwords are “123456” and “password.” Even if you only use these passwords on websites you don’t often use, or will only use once, they still bare the risk of exposing your email address and other information to further credential surfing attacks.
How Will a Password Manager Help You
Password managers eliminate the risk associated with reusing passwords and save you the effort of memorizing dozens of complex passwords. Password Management software will automatically log you into the website or application you want to use. When creating a new account on a website, a password management software will generate a very strong password for you so you don’t need to come up with your own passwords, or enter complex passwords on each sign-in.
The only password you will need to remember is your master password to the management software. This password will let you view, and update your login information to different websites and applications that you have saved.
Some password management software can store other information you may need when creating a new online account. This can include:
- Your name
- Your address
- Security Questions and answers
Password managers not only help keep your credentials safe, but they also help you automate your workflow and work across several devices.
Another important and often overlooked function that password management software provides is its ability to detect phishing websites. If the software doesn’t automatically fill in your login information on a website that you frequently use, it’s possible that you are on a phishing site, so check the URL.
Some password managers also view public data breaches for your information. Once spotted, they will notify you about the breach and urge you to change your passwords.
Which Password Management Software Should You Use
There are plenty of well-known password managers available with different pros and cons to each. We recommend using a dedicated password management software over a browser-based one, due to the added functionalities and cross-platform capabilities. The three password management systems that stand out to us are Dashlane, LastPass, and Keeper.
Dashlane has been one of the most talked-about password management systems for several years. They have excellent cross-platform synchronization, allowing you to switch between your computer and phone without any hassle. Dashlane can store more than just your login information, it stores shipping information and automatically fill the contact information for you. One of its biggest strengths is that Dashlane also monitors data breaches listed on the Dark Web that you wouldn’t be able to search for without a specialized search engine like TOR, and alerts you about them.
Dashlane offers built-in file storage and a VPN to keep your online activity hidden. The service is one of the most expensive password managers available, but it is also one of the most reliable and useful password managers available.
LastPass is a very simple and easy to use password manager that has both free and premium options. Like Dashlane, LastPass can store more than just passwords. The service can also store payment information, shipping addresses, and automatically log you into mobile apps. If you use your phone more than your desktop for searching the web, LastPass may be the best option for you, especially if you lose your phone.
Not many other password management software can log you into mobile apps, so this is a key feature that we have to highlight.
Keeper is one of the first companies to enter the password management space. Keeper has earned its place as one of the best for its sophistication and ease of use. Keeper has a dedicated application for itself, as well as browser plug-ins for every major browser, including Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, and Opera.
Keeper will notify you of any data breaches and supports biometric two-factor authentication. A feature unique to Keeper is its messaging tool. Keeper allows you to send encrypted messages across different devices and operating systems. For families or large groups, Keeper may be the best option.
Password Managers are essential to keeping your online privacy secure. Everyone should consider using a password management system. To learn more about password managers and computer repair software, explore other pages of our website.