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We carry out several everyday tasks online, such as posting on social media, checking email, and ordering groceries, all of which often require passwords. It's almost impossible to have an online presence without using passwords. A study has revealed that the average person that uses the internet has about 100 passwords.
Yet, we have all been told that it is a bad idea to use weak passwords such as your kid's birthday, the dog's name, or that popular but very insecure password: 12345. Moreover, reusing strong passwords is not even advisable, although it is impossible to remember the many dozens of strong passwords you have.
With modern ways of storing passwords, you can now sigh in relief. If you can take a few minutes off, you will learn about it in this article.
Reasons to Secure Your Passwords
By securely storing your passwords, you can keep your essential accounts safe from those with plans to steal your money or data. Such people are known as hackers, and they use different techniques to gain access to weak passwords and leave a trail of havoc behind them. There are several risks of failing to keep your passwords secure, and these include:
When identity thieves gain access to critical accounts, they may succeed in stealing important personal information of their victims, such as their victims' full names, home addresses, and Social Security Number. This information, so gathered, can be used to impersonate their victims, open credit accounts in their names, and do many other terrible things they may never be able to fix in months.
A hacker can successfully control one or more of your important accounts. This can be your virtual email address or social media accounts. Before you regain access to such compromised accounts, the hacker may have sent messages to your friends, family, or colleagues requesting money. They may even trick them into releasing their private information to them too.
A cybercriminal can gain access to your bank account password if you are careless with it. Before you realise it, much damage may have been done to your finances. Although there are federal protections to protect you from unauthorised transactions, it may take time before the issue gets resolved, which can leave you without money for a long time.
You can lower all these risks and others if you can keep your digital life under wraps. You can easily do this with a sound password management system that will keep your passwords securely safe from the hands of hackers.
Ways to Store Passwords Securely
You can use different free and paid options to keep your passwords safe. You can easily use the password manager feature that comes with your internet browser. Those who will not want to leave things to chance always go for dedicated password managers because they are usually offered better options for storing their usernames and passwords.
Essential Facts About Password Managers
Some of the more popular internet browsers offer a password management feature. Browsers such as Firefox, Chrome, and Safari offer users this feature which many people have been benefiting from to store their passwords. It is possible to set any of these browsers to ask if you would like to store your password anytime you create a new account.
You can also choose to have the browser automatically sign you into any account you have kept their password at any time you want to access the websites.
There are merits and demerits to choosing to use browsers to manage your passwords. You should review them to know if this method is good for you.
Advantages of using browsers as password managers
- Convenience – As password managers exist in some popular internet browsers, you don't need to download and learn how to use a new application.
- Fast – This method is quick and very easy to use. It may not need more than tweaking your settings and clicking "Yes" following the prompt to store your password.
- Free – Since this is free, you can store your passwords in the browser without subscribing to a monthly fee payment.
Demerits of using browsers as password managers
- Work on one browser – If you are fond of switching browsers, having your password management linked to other browsers may be a hassle.
- Fewer password generation options – With your browser's help, you can generate a secure password whenever needed. However, you may be limited in the options to customise the passwords.
If you are not sure a browser password manager can serve you well, you should look for a good password manager application, as this is one of the top ways to store your passwords.
Password Manager Applications
Password manager applications are excellent alternatives to your browser password management feature. Find below some of the merits and demerits of using dedicated password manager applications.
Why use password manager applications?
- Best place to store passwords – Perhaps the best way to store passwords safely is through reputable password manager apps. With a good password manager, you can easily create, manage, and gain access again to all the passwords you have stored.
- Get custom and strong passwords – You can use a password manager to generate them anytime. This allows you to designate the designed number of characters, including symbols of your choice, and a strong password that is simple to say or spell.
- May have a free plan – Most premium password manager apps offer their customers a free plan. However, such free plans will only offer basic features that work on a single device. With this, you can still use a premium password manager app without subscribing to a monthly fee payment.
Disadvantages of using password manager applications
- Take time to find a suitable one – Since there are many options you can choose from, you may have to spend some time comparing these various options along with their prices. Going through the different options before settling for one can be overwhelming.
- There may be glitches – Even with the best applications; users lodge complaints occasionally. One such could be getting locked out of your account or not being asked if you would want to save some passwords.
- Requires a master password – You must have a long and very strong password to log into your password manager account. It would be best to find a safe place to keep this password. You may have difficulty accessing your password manager if you lose this password.
Unsecure Methods for Storing Your Passwords
Knowing the best ways to store passwords is good, but learning the worst ways to keep sensitive information is also necessary. The following is a list of the worst ways you can employ to store your passwords:
- Saving on documents on your computer – Even with a password-protected Word document or spreadsheet, your passwords are not safe. A hacker can easily use a keystroke logger to capture your stored passwords. Additionally, you will require a place to store the password for such documents.
- Paper note – Writing down your passwords in a physical notebook or on a sticky note is common practice with people. Hackers on the internet may not be able to access such passwords but remember that such passwords can fall into other people's hands. People who come around your home, such as a service person, a roommate, a relative, a house cleaner, or even a burglar, can get hold of these passwords.
- Notes app on your phone – If you store passwords on your phone, know that anyone who gets hold of it may gain access unless the device is protected with a strong passcode. Even if you lock a note with a password on your iPhone, you will have the problem of where to store the password.
- Email – You may have emailed yourself a password because you don't want to forget it. Emails are often stored on different servers, and they may find their way into trash folders after they have been deleted. This can make it easy for hackers who can swipe such passwords.
Get Proper Advice from IT Professionals
Having a secure password for whatever account you consider important is essential. Fortunately, some options can help you do this successfully. If the different options confound you, or you need to find what best suits your needs, you should let an IT security professional handle it.