Best practice for any important online account is to use a unique, complex random password and to update it periodically. This can be an inconvenient demand if you have many passwords memorised but becomes easy with a Password Manager.
What is a Password Manager?
An App or feature that records, stores then auto-fills usernames and passwords for you. Simple ones are now built into most browsers. A dedicated Password Manager is a full featured application or service storing your data behind a Master Password.
Why is a single Master Password better?
It takes precious brain power to think of and memorise the many passwords required of us today, making us reluctant to update passwords. It is more efficient to just remember your Master Password, forget the others and let the program handle it with unique, complex random passwords that you won’t hesitate to update regularly because it’s so easy.
Why use unique, complex random passwords?
With so many passwords to remember these days, our brains use patterns that not only help us recall but also makes those patterns easier to spot. The simpler the password (less characters, fewer symbols or capitals), the easier it is to crack.
It’s also likely that some online service you use will be caught up in a public data breach eventually. All other accounts using the same or related password are then at risk as hackers will try those combinations on other services.
Password Managers have random generators to add complexity and remove predictable patterns that your brain would introduce. You can use it to replace each account’s password with high strength ones, including your Master Password.
Password Managers know what site you are on
Even if you visit a hacker’s perfect copy of an online bank service, a Password Manger won’t autofill the real password for you. Also, if you don’t recall an individual password, you won’t easily volunteer it to a hacker.
Why use a Password Manager in the workplace?
As staff turnover and ICT resources change, passwords become one more asset requiring safe easy management. A Password Manager logs passwords over time and keeps authorised staff updated with the latest changes without the fallibility of a spreadsheet or list. Password sharing and cross-platform compatibility can give teams flexibility. A Manager can remind you when you duplicate passwords or even alert you when your password is added to public lists.
Choosing a Password Manger
All dedicated Password Managers have random generators but the most popular ones like LastPass, 1Password, Bitwarden, Dashlane and Enpass also offer:
- Login from multiple devices with mobile, desktop and browser apps
- Share/revoke access to certain passwords with colleagues
- Grant access to a group or ‘vault’ of passwords according to need
- Automatic password capture and prompt to update
- Multiple personas or identities
You may need to investigate differing pricing to access the options, also consider a search of customers service reviews in relation to Master Password recovery etc.