Password Protection and Peace of Mind
Hackers are out there to steal your information. Once they’ve got it, they’ll sell it to the highest bidder and destroy your identity. Or at least, that’s what the media tells us. There are large corporate breaches, and everyone knows someone who’s had their information hacked. You can’t prevent these corporate breaches from happening, but you can take steps to keep you and your information safe during daily use. How? Well, all the articles tell us the same things:
“Don’t use the same password more than once. Use strong passwords. Change your passwords frequently. Don’t tell anyone your passwords.”
It’s good advice, but how are you supposed to remember all that information? Some people manage their passwords in a written notebook near their computer or in a digital file on their computer. I’ve kept mine in Evernote and had Google Chrome’s ‘Save Password’ option to help me out. But other people choose very simple passwords or use the same password for everything. Fortunately, password managers – LastPass, KeyPass, Dashlane, 1Password – were created to address those best practices we keep getting told.
So what is a password manager? A password manager is a software program that will store your passwords (and help you generate new ones if need be) and then fills in that information on whatever web page or service you’re logging on to.
Pros & Cons
Benefits of Password Managers: Strong passwords, greater security, less information to remember especially when every site seems to have different password requirements.
Cons of Password Managers: You have one primary password to access your ‘vault’ of passwords. However, one password to rule them all means that if you forget your access password, you’re back at square one.
Why can’t I just use the Google/Firefox ‘saved password’ option?
When using the saved password option with your browser, you are always logged in. With LastPass, I am required to log back in after more than 5 minutes of being idle to get access to my passwords. Having to log back in multiple times during the day is annoying, but it does provide me the security in knowing that I can walk away from my laptop for a break and nobody will be able to access my sites.
***Even though I am using a password manager, I don’t keep all my information in the same place. LastPass does not have my bank passwords – these are unique for each site and live only in my head. Even though LastPass has my passwords for important things like email, I still have two-factor authentication enabled. Two-factor authentication is essential because once someone can access your email, they can reset all your passwords.
So why LastPass?
The LastPass software program is regularly ranked among the top picks for password managers. Dashlane and 1Password were both contenders, but I like the LastPass interface and the price was right. I do not recommend using a free password manager. Software that is free has to make money somehow, and I don’t want access to my passwords being how. It becomes an integrity issue.
I feel comfortable with the difficulty level of most of my passwords, but I like the option of having LastPass change them to something complex with numbers and special characters. I’m guilty of using the same password for quite a few sites, and LastPass gives me an easy way to change this. LastPass has worked out well for me, and now that I’ve made the switch, I’ll stick with a password manager and free up my brain for other important info!
Are you using a password manager?
Do you have a great way to remember your passwords?
To generate unique passwords?
Head on over to Facebook and let me know!