Back in December I read an article on Wired.com titled, “Kill the Password: Why a String of Characters Can’t Protect Us Anymore”. It was one of those moments that slapped me up alongside the head and made me reevaluate the digital world around me. In some ways it validated that I have taken smart steps in protecting sensitive personal data over the years. In other ways it made me realize I wasn’t as safe as I thought I was.
We know people don’t choose secure passwords in the first place. Every time there is a major hack and account information is dumped onto the internet, “password” is still the most-used “password”. The most common excuse why people don’t use secure passwords? “I can’t remember them.” (Yet those same people can rattle off totally useless facts and sports stats galore. Hmmm….)
Luckily there are Password Managers so you only have to remember one nice secure password. With that one secure password you can open your Password Manager and allow it to make your online endeavors much more secure. Your password manager will create super-long and complex passwords (e.g., %rD2aMs!TS4h@z6f) and remember them for you. When you log into your banking or other sensitive website, your password manager can easily be accessed through your browser, and with a click of a button your password manager can auto-fill your secure login information for you.
Of course there are also security risks with using Password Managers, but I have to guess the risks are much less than using the same password across every website you use. (especially if it’s “password”.) Just remember to change your super-secure password once a month to add another layer of prudence to your online practices!
If you use these tips in combination with the guidance we provided last week (Fighting Facebook’s Social Graph With Dopplegangers) you greatly improve your online security!
Note: Password managers are different (and arguably more secure) than the “Remember Password” feature built into browsers. More information on password keepers: http://lifehacker.com/5944969/which-password-manager-is-the-most-secure