What are they: Password Managers

What are password managers, and why are they so important? Password Managers have become more and more popular lately, but how do they work? Are they more of an inconvenience?
What are they: Password Managers

A Password Manager is a tool that is used to keep a copy of all of your passwords.

While a sticky note or your memory might keep track of all of the passwords that you’re using, more likely than not, you’re reusing the same passwords more than once, which can pose a major security risk to yourself.

Sticky-note passwords
Sticky Note with Passwords

Password managers are a simple and secure way of holding all of your passwords, and making sure that all of your accounts are secure online.

Why should I use a password manager?

Easier to manage

The most obvious answer as to why you should use a password manager is that it’s easier to manage your passwords… it’s in the name. You can view all of your unique passwords from one place, without having to remember any of them.

Securing all of your accounts

One of the major security risks in personal security is the reuse of passwords. The reason for this, is that if that password gets leaked, then every login with that password is open to being breached.

My passwords won’t be leaked because I keep them in a secure place!

The majority of times, password leaks are not your fault at all. Most of these happen when a company is hacked and the user passwords (or password hashes) are released to the public.

With a password manager (and proper use), however, if the worst-case scenario happens of one of your passwords being leaked, then you’ll have to change just the one site that uses that password.

What are the best practices of using a password manager?

With all of your passwords being held in one place, we need to make sure that that one place is secure. To do this:

  • Make sure that your master password is unique, strong and not used before.
  • Secure your password manager login with Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA).
  • Regularly backup your passwords. Most password managers have the option of exporting the database. Make sure these are offline backups, such as a USB in a safe.
Make sure that your Master Password (the one used to access your password manager) is secure and not used before. Losing this could mean losing all of your passwords. It’s best to write this one down…
Password Strength Cracking
Password Strength Cracking Timeline (sourced from HiveSystems)

To make best use of the password manager and to make sure that you’re as secure online as possible:

  • Make sure all of your passwords are randomly generated using a combination of UPPERCASE, lowercase, numb3rs and $ymbols, as well as being at least 12 characters in length.
  • Organise your passwords so that they’re easier to find…

What password manager should I use?

Check out my Recommended Password Managers for a list of recommended password managers.

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