Managing Passwords - The Guide to Highly Secured AccountsUpdated: June 02, 2019
Strong passwords are the key to improved online security. But how do you remember multiple passwords and how can you manage them all safely?
In the online world, passwords are our keys to get into the platforms we access almost daily. Most of the websites nowadays ask for an account, requiring us to manage multiple passwords for so many accounts that it often feels overwhelming.
Many people choose to use the same password for every account because it's the most convenient. This is a big NO. If you want to keep your private data secure and protect yourself against hackers who might want to steal your data (and money), each of your accounts should be secured by a strong and complex password.
If managing multiple passwords sounds like a lot of work, we're here to help. Fortunately, there are easy ways to manage multiple passwords and you'll find that it's actually not as hard as you might think.
To secure your accounts properly, it's crucial that the passwords you use are complex enough and hard to guess. And, when we talk about hard to guess passwords, we're not referring to how hard it is for your friend to guess it. Hackers use tools that run numerous combinations per minute, they don't type each password individually themselves.
- Create lengthy passwords - The longer the password, the more secure it is. Aim to use at least 16 characters for your passwords when the platform allows it.
- Make them complex - Avoid using common words or personal information (including your pets' names, birth dates, close ones' names). With all the time we spend all social media, these type of information is probably not hard to find by someone who might want to hack your accounts.
- Use sentences instead of single words - One great trick to staying away from common passwords is to use sentences. It will make your passwords more secure and harder to hack. (e.g. musicanddancetherealdeal)
- Embrace upper case letters - Mixing upper case and lower case letters also raises the level of complexity of your passwords. Play around with the upper case letters and don't just add one at the beginning of your password. (e.g. MusicandDancetheREALdeal)
- Use special characters - You might have noticed that a lot of websites force you to add at least one special character in your password. That's because special characters add a lot of strength to passwords, making them way harder to crack. (e.g. Music&Dance-theREAL!deal)
- Avoid single words followed by numbers - Passwords such as caterpillar23 are poor and easy to crack. Hackers use special tools to hack login credentials and these kinds of passwords are a piece of cake for such tools.
- Use multi-factor authentication (MFA) - Using strong passwords is not always enough. To add an extra layer of security you should also enable the multi-factor authentication. On most platforms (especially on social media and email clients) you can choose to receive an SMS, email, or pop up on your phone to confirm you're trying to log in to your account. Even if someone manages to crack your password, he won't be able to access your account without the confirmation key.
- Don't share your passwords - You should never share your passwords with anyone. Well, you might trust your spouse or best friend with some of your accounts, but besides that, don't tell your passwords to anyone. Be extremely cautious if you receive an email asking for your password to a specific account. One of the biggest scam hackers use to steal peoples' money is by sending fake emails asking for their login credentials. Trustworthy platforms will never ask for your passwords so you should never reply to such emails.
- Use different passwords for each account - This is probably one of the most important aspects of having secured passwords all around. Never use the same passwords for multiple accounts.
If you use the same passwords for every account you have and one of your accounts gets compromised, all the others will be at risk.
Hackers crack passwords through a method that's known as a brute-force attack. They find your email through data breaches or public posts and then use special tools to try thousands of common passwords. If they do this for one of your accounts and manage to hack the password, they'll get access to all of your accounts if you've used the same password all around.
The thought of remembering multiple passwords might sound overwhelming, but you'll see that managing passwords is actually quite easy.
To learn how to manage your passwords safely let's start by talking a bit about the passwords you might've saved in Google Chrome so far.
As you might know, Google knows a lot about you (if not all about you). The more information you allow Google to collect about your online activity, the greater the risk for your online privacy and security. If you're curious about how much Google knows about you, you can find all about it in our post.
Saving passwords in Chrome is especially risky. If a hacker manages to get access to your computer by infecting it with malware, he will be able to connect to your accounts without even needing the password because the sign-in fields will fill in automatically. Not a relaxing thought.
It's best to ditch saving passwords in Chrome altogether and use a password manager instead. This will strengthen the way you're managing multiple passwords.
Step 1. Open the Chrome browser and access the Settings by clicking on the hamburger button in the upper-right corner.
Step 2. From the left menu access the Autofill section. There you'll find the Passwords manager.
Step 3. In the passwords manager, you'll find all your saved passwords. From there, you can edit or delete them and you can also disable Chrome from saving your passwords.
Step 4. Before you start removing the passwords from Chrome, click on the hamburger button next to the Saved Passwords and click to Export passwords. you'll download a .cvs file containing all the details (website, username, password). This way you'll make sure you won't lose any passwords and you'll use this file add the passwords to a password manager.
We talked about using different and complex passwords for different accounts. But you might still be wondering "How am I supposed to remember multiple passwords, especially lengthy and full of special characters ones?".
Don't despair. For this purpose, password managers are here to our rescue.
Using a password manager is the best way to organize your passwords and remember all your passwords with no-hassle.
A password manager not only stores all your passwords but it does it in a secure way. Moreover, most password managers also have the feature of creating randomized, strong passwords for you, which will make your life so much easier.
Some password managers also offer a variety of advanced features such as:
- Two-factor authentication - Which strengthens the security of your password manager account.
- Fingerprint authentication on mobile - Also a great way to further secure your account.
- The option to store extra account information - It gives you the option to store data such as answers to security questions or recovery codes.
- Digital wallet - Secure your shopping experience by storing sensitive data such as credit card details into the password manager.
- Digital files storage - Keep important records safe.
- Security alerts - If the password manager suspects there's unusual behavior with your account, it will notify you immediately.
Most passwords managers also have the feature of adding a browser extension so you won't be required to type in your passwords every time you're accessing a website.
You can also use a password manager on your phone if you choose a service that provides a mobile app.
So by now, password managers sound like a great deal. But can you trust a password manager to store all of your passwords safely?
Maybe the greatest concern is about someone hacking into the password manager itself and getting access to all the accounts.
Well, when you register for a password manager you set up a master password that you'll use to access your account. Many password managers use encryption to protect your data and, most of the times, the encrypting and decrypting takes place on your device and not on third parties servers. This means no one has access to your master password, including the password manager.
Moreover, lots of password managers provide two-factor authentication, which means your account will be extra secure.
Without a password manager, you'll be using weak passwords which are easy to remember because it would be too hard to keep track of them otherwise.
Writing dozens of passwords on paper is not efficient as papers are also easily lost, misplaced, or found by someone else. Saving them in files on your computer or cloud storage (e.g. Google Drive) is not a secure method for managing passwords safely either.
With a password manager, you won't rely on weak passwords and your memory to manage multiple passwords. You'll use a tool that can both keep track of all your passwords for you and also help you generate strong, complex passwords.
Let's see which are the best passwords managers for managing passwords safely and easily.
If you're not ready to invest in a password manager, don't worry. There are free passwords managers out there that are great for managing passwords and you can safely use them if you don't need advanced features.
LastPass is one of the best passwords managers out there, even with the free version. It has lots of features and it's compatible with Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS devices.
- Syncs passwords across devices
- Two-factor authentication
- Automatically fills passwords in browsers
- Password generator
- Store notes (addresses, passports, credit cards)
- Automatic password change
- Password strength reports
- Secure sharing
Myki offers a free password manager for individuals and a paid version for businesses. The tool stores your passwords offline and not in cloud storage. You can download the app on your phone and connect it to the browser extension to manage the passwords on your computer.
- Data stored on your smartphone and not on cloud servers
- Browser extension for any platform
- One-click authentication
- Password strength report
- Acts like the Google authenticator
- Secure sharing
The free version of the LogMeOnce password manager offers more features than most of its competitors. Still, sometimes too many features can become overwhelming.
- Syncs across all devices
- Multiple login options
- Customizable desktop dashboard
- Secure wallet
- Automatic password changer
- Password generator
- Anti-theft feature
- Mugshot feature
- Many more additional features
Avira is a free password manager that securely stores all your passwords and notes on all your devices.
- Syncs across desktop, Android, and iOS devices
- Browser extension
- Passwords are securely stored with AES-256 encryption
- Two-factor authentication
- Also stores notes
- Automatically fills log in credentials when browsing
- Password generator
KeePass is a free open source password manager great for managing passwords securely. It is highly configurable, although you must use third-party plug-ins.
- Two-factor authentication
- The whole database is encrypted
- The master key is SHA-256 encrypted (the strongest type of 256-bit encryption)
- Allows the use of key files instead of a master password
- It's a portable tool and runs without being installed
- You can install it on Windows if you want shortcuts (there are also ports for Android and iOS)
- Imports from many competitors
Secure your devices - Your phone probably carries a lot of your private information so it's important to make sure it is highly secured.
Be cautious with the apps you install - Each time you install an app or extension on your devices make sure you review the app's permissions you allow to your data. One wrong app can create a huge hole in your online security.
Know what the risks are - With the growth of the internet and technology, hackers also find new ways to hack into peoples' private information. You'll better know how to keep your online security top-notch if you know what types of malware can compromise your devices and how they get the work done.
Share as little as possible - Nowadays, everywhere you go online you leave some kind of information behind, especially when you're not using a secure browser. All websites collect data on their users, mainly for marketing purposes. Some sell the data to advertisers and this data can also be stolen by hackers. Learn how to browse privately and leave no trace behind.
Use a VPN - A VPN changes your IP address and encrypts all the data exchanged between you and the internet. Basically, a VPN makes you anonymous online so you can browse the internet while maintaining your online privacy. A VPN also makes it possible to freely use public WiFi networks without worrying about your security.
Don't surf without an antivirus - Using antivirus software is also really important if you want to avoid getting infected with malware from browsing the internet. Malware can be found in many places online and it is usually well disguised.
We publish articles concerning online privacy and security on a regular basis. If you want to learn more about how to protect your personal information when surfing the internet, take a look over our posts archive.
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