Password Security for Beginners

Password Security
Devon Walder

You need a password manager. If you’re not already using one, drop everything and get one now. It may sound extreme, but in a world of ecommerce security breaches, one of the best ways to keep your information safe and secure is by using a password protection app.

Companies share passwords with employees for lots of reasons, such as access to a communal account, or follow up with the account of a former employee. Passwords are often sent via email, instant message, text message, or written down. Whatever your reason for doing this, I am here to tell you it needs to stop. Now.

I have been guilty of this bad behavior because I didn’t know any better. Not anymore. Here’s what I’ve learned.

Sharing passwords in messages is bad

Unlike password managers, written or digital messages are not as secure as we would like to think. With or without malicious intent, almost anyone can intercept messages, making them an insecure way to transmit highly secure data. If you leave the sticky note with your email password on John Smith’s desk, just about anyone can walk by and pick it up. If you email your password to John Smith, anyone with access to his inbox can see it. And if you are one of those people who uses the same password for multiple accounts, (I’m looking at you, Mom) whoever sees or steals your password can now get into more than just your email.

How can password managers solve this?

Password managers are secure repositories that store your passwords, but many also allow you to securely share your passwords with others as well. In order to do this, both you and the person you wish to share your password with must have accounts. Usually, the sharer enters the email or account name for the person she wishes to share with; the receiver is notified and asked to accept the share. This gives the receiver access to only the password for the specific account the user is sharing, not access to the entire repository of passwords. This process has to be initiated and accepted on both ends, and entirely removes messaging from the equation.

In addition to secure password sharing, password managers can also be used to generate secure passwords for websites, and automatically store and populate them as needed. For people who re-use passwords, this is a great feature. Gone are the days of Unicorn123, and now are the days of afj837ty!. With the help of a password manager, you no longer need to worry about forfeiting a strong password for a memorable one. You CAN have both, and you can share them securely, too.

Worried about two-factor authentication, web form fills, and automatic password capture? Check out this handy chart from PCMag to help determine which password manager is best for your needs.

 

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