Are Password Managers Safe to Use?
We hear more and more about large companies suffering data breaches. And as a result, it is possible that leaked credentials could end up on the dark web.
If you use the same password for lots of different accounts, then these accounts could be at risk too. We recommend using a different password with each online account, so if that account is compromised, none of your other accounts can be accessed with that password.
But how many online accounts do you think you have? Combining personal and work accounts, you could well have hundreds of online accounts. So how can you possibly remember so many unique passwords? That’s where a password manager can help.
What is a Password Manager?
A password manager is a tool that lets you securely store and manage all of your passwords. Password managers can be accessed with a single password. As this is the only password you will need to remember, make sure it’s a secure one! You can add an extra layer of security to your password manager with MFA as well.
Are Password Managers Safe?
In short, yes. And we highly recommend you use one, as they are far safer than reusing passwords or writing them down and leaving them lying around. But there is no way to stay 100% safe online – so there are a few things to be aware of:
- All sensitive data is in one place: if attackers are able to gain access to your password manager, they will have access to all of your online accounts.
- Device vulnerabilities: if you access your password manager on a device infected with malware, you could be giving cybercriminals access to your account. Secure your devices before using a password manager.
- Weak encryption: make sure you do some research. If a password manager has poor reviews and fewer features, its probably best not to use it. Saving a bit of money should not be your priority when it comes to the security of your passwords.
- Forgetting your master password: if you’re the only person who knows the master password, and your password manager doesn’t offer reset functionality, you might need to start recovering each individual login. Alternatively, you might want to store your master password, or a hint, in a secure space such as a safe or locked filing cabinet.
How Do Password Managers Work?
Good password managers use strong encryption to protect your password vault. As mentioned earlier, you access your vault with a master password. Some password managers will have extra layers of security such as a secure key to go with the master password when logging in on a new device.
The majority of password managers are cloud based. This means you can access your passwords on any of your devices, and quickly enter login credentials in your chosen apps or browsers. Cloud based password managers are generally more user friendly than locally installed ones, such as KeePass.
A good password manager will com with a password generator – where you can set rules such as length and types of characters used. They should be able to generate passphrases as well as passwords – so you can use whichever you prefer.
Choosing a Password Manager
The majority of password managers have similar or the same features. But there will be differences that makes one a better option than another. Here are some features to look out for – some may be more relevant to you than others.
- End to end encryption
- Password generator
- Different vaults for different occasions
- Password sharing
- Family or business plans
- Browser extension
- Support options
- Open-source software
From secure sharing to knowing your passwords are unique, there so many reasons to use a password manager. If you’re looking for other ways to improve your organisation’s security, see how ACUTEC can help.