Preventing Password Problems
True or false: You reuse at least one of your passwords? We’d guess that the answer is true! How do we know that’s likely? According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, 85% of the population reuses passwords – sometimes under the guise of variations.
Spoiler alert! Password variations are easily predicted and contain about the same security as reusing the same password across every website.
But it’s challenging, right? When human beings are required to memorize long/multiple passwords, we have a tendency do one of the following:
- Reuse passwords
- Make a standard password then vary it (do you use one of the 200 most common passwords?)
- Create a paper master password list (or leave sticky notes all around your computer)
- Create a document saved on the computer with all the passwords on it
The unfortunate truth, however, is that taking shortcuts by reusing or simplifying passwords can make your personal information vulnerable to phishers and hackers. So how can you practice better password hygiene? Consider getting an assistant. Consider, a password manager.
What is a Password Manager?
A password manager is an online tool that stores, manages, and fills in your passwords via an encrypted database that you access with one master password. They can also recommend unique passwords for your accounts, and many will notify you if a website had a security breach and recommend if you should update your passwords to keep yourself secure.
“I think all people should use a password manager. [Any] risks that a password manager offsets are far larger than the ones they may bring to the table.”
– Roger Grimes, a 30-year computer security professional
Doesn’t My Web Browser Do That?
Most web browsers (Chrome, Firefox, etc.) offer a simple password management interface. But at the end of the day, web browsers have other priorities and do not focus on your password security. Dedicated password managers have a single purpose and continue to add features to keep you protected and make password management less painful while increasing your security.
One of the biggest reasons we do not like web browser-based password management is that they do not use a master password to encrypt all of your logins, which means that the security of all your accounts becomes tied to your browser’s account security.
Pro Tip: Here’s how you can disable your web browser from prompting you to save passwords.
Do You Recommend a Specific Password Manager?
Here at Yeske Buie, we’ve chosen to deploy LastPass within our organization. LastPass started in 2008, works across devices whether we’re at home or in the office, and is consistently recognized as a leading password manager by multiple outlets. We recommend the paid version of LastPass (the free version only works on one device, and most people use more than one device these days). With the paid version, we think the personal version for families at $4/mo for up to 6 family members is a great deal. Some of the benefits of the paid version include:
- Access across multiple devices (including mobile),
- Allows you to share passwords with those you trust,
- Saves, autofills, and generates passwords,
- Includes dark web monitoring,
- Provides access to security dashboards so you can monitor your password security across the web, and
- Includes priority tech support if you run into any issues
Everyone on the Yeske Buie Team uses the software, so if you’d like to learn more about the software, feel free to ask us any questions about our experience. You can also read more reviews of LastPass here and here. If you’d prefer to try out a free service, we’d recommend looking into Bitwarden. Although it doesn’t always run as smoothly as LastPass, it does allow you to synch across your devices without a price tag.
Bottom line: Passwords are the entry point to your digital life, which means that employing healthy technology habits (like good password management) is of the utmost importance.