Why use a password manager?
- Yasmin Duggal, Cybersecurity Content Specialist, Netacea
4 minutes read
Password managers protect your online logins. As more people are now working from home, issues of online security have made password managers an essential tool. It is too easy to fall into the habit of reusing the same password for multiple sites. Doing so is bad password hygiene.
In this blog, we explore why you should use a password manager and what password hygiene is.
What is password hygiene?
Passwords can help to prevent cybercriminals from gaining access to your private information and password hygiene is intended to ensure that passwords are always strong and secure. Alarmingly, more than 3.6 million people in the UK use ‘password’ as their password.
Some of the key points for password hygiene are:
Always choose strong passwords for your online accounts
The longer it is, the more guesses hackers will need to get it right. Many websites and apps have applied requirements to increase password strength, but even when they’re not required, it’s best to follow these guidelines to make your account more secure.
When creating your password, use a combination of:
- Upper case
- Lower case
- Special characters
Use a unique password for every account
Using the same password can leave you open to fraud or identity theft. If one of the websites is breached or compromised, that password could be published online for the world to see, and criminals will be able to carry out attacks like credential stuffing to access your accounts elsewhere.
Use a password manager
Password managers are fast becoming the tool of choice to manage our ever-increasing number of passwords. A good password manager will save you the effort of remembering multiple different logins for all your online accounts, plus helping to keep them secure by generating strong passwords that are much harder to guess, whilst storing them all safely in an encrypted vault.
Some paid password managers can synchronize across multiple devices. This can be useful when accessing accounts across different computers, phones and other devices.
Why use a password manager?
Remembering strong unique passwords for every website you use is almost impossible. The ideal solution is a password manager that generates secure, random passwords for you and remembers them, so you no longer have to.
Most password managers have generators that create long passwords featuring a random selection of characters. Therefore, users no longer have to worry about thinking of a strong yet memorable password, or reusing old passwords elsewhere.
Browser-based vs stand-alone password managers
Many web browsers now come with password managers built-in. Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and others all have integrated password managers. However, this may not be useful if you share devices with others. With a standalone password manager, you do have to create and remember a long master passphrase unlike with a browser-based manager.
A dedicated password manager is a better way to generate random passwords than using a browser-based password manager. However, if a browser-based solution is suitable for you, then it’s best practice to always keep your browser up-to-date and ensure your device is fully protected.
Standalone password managers may also include more advanced features such as notifications about compromised websites.
The pros and cons of password managers
It is important to keep in mind that since the data is stored on a server some password managers can be susceptible to phishing attacks, as cybercriminals could download the information in bulk. However, password managers can help against phishing attacks because they are better than humans at spotting fake websites. They fill account information into websites based on their web address. In some cases, if your password manager doesn’t automatically fill your login information, you may be on a phishing website with a different URL.
Most of the popular brands offer apps for your smartphone device, these include:
Using these apps provides an added benefit of syncing across multiple devices.
With a variety of password managers available, it is important to be aware of which option best suits your requirements.
We will soon mark World Password Day by asking our LinkedIn followers which password manager they prefer to use. Check back soon for the results of our poll!
Talk to the Netacea team today to find out how our best-of-breed bot management technology can protect your website, mobile app and APIs from automated attacks such as phishing, scraping, credential stuffing and fake account creation.
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