What is a password manager?
- February 28, 2019
- Posted by: Kerry Tomlinson, Archer News
- Categories: Archer News, Ask Archer, Cyber Crime, Mobile Devices, Posts with image
What is a password manager — and how do you use it?
A password manager is a secure place to store your passwords until you need them.
Here’s how it works.
Too Many Passwords
You roll your eyes. Let out a groan. “Not again!”
Another website or app or service wants another password from you.
How can you remember them all? You can’t.
So, you may use the same one you always do. That makes it easy for attackers who break into one database to then get access to all of your accounts.
Fine, you say, I’ll come up with a new password. But you can’t remember it.
That’s when you need a password manager.
The 100 most-used — and easiest to guess — passwords of 2018, according to SplashData. Image: SplashData
How Does It Work?
A password manager lives on your computer, though you can also get into it from your phone or tablet.
You enter your username and passwords into the manager — also called a password safe or vault — and store them until you need them.
When it’s time to put in a password online or on your phone, you click on your password manager and enter your master password to get in.
Then, select the account you want to get your password.
The top 100 most-used passwords include sports like hockey, baseball & football, SplashData reports. Image: SplashData
With a password manager, you can come up with long, strong passwords that will fend off the bad guys.
No more head-scratching, name-calling, forgot-my-password clicking madness!
You’ll need a strong master password for your password manager, one that you don’t mind typing a lot.
The latest security advice is to come up with a password that is at least 15 characters long, like a string of random words.
New research shows attackers can crack your eight-character password in just a few hours.
First names are popular on SplashData’s 2018 top 100 most-used passwords list. Image: SplashData
Choosing a Password Manager
How do you choose one?
Some are free, some are not.
We recommend that you read reviews in well-known publications like Tom’s Guide, PCMag (choose from paid versions and free versions), Digital Trends, and PC World.
Look for one that fits your online habits best.
For example, do you want one that will:
—Generate strong passwords for you?
—Change passwords for you?
—Save your credit card information as well?
—Let you use your face or fingerprint to get in to your password manager, instead of typing in a password?
Once you’ve decided, download the password manager and enter your usernames and passwords for storage.
Then, every time you make a new password, you enter it into your password safe.
First names are hot on SplashData’s 2018 top password list. The most popular: Charlie & Donald. Image: SplashData
There have been cases where attackers have hacked a password manager.
Researchers have also found security flaws in some as well.
Still, security experts say it’s better to use a password manager than to re-use passwords or use easy ones on your accounts.
Use two-factor authentication to protect yourself in case cyber crooks get their hands on your passwords.
The top 5 most-used passwords of 2018, according to SplashData. Image: SplashData
It may take some time to get used to using a password manager.
It may take an extra step to get into your accounts.
You may groan a few times in the process.
But that extra step can save you stress — and money — if it prevents an attacker from getting in to your accounts.
See also “What is two-factor authentication?” by Archer News.