A password manager is one of the most important tools that you will need to boost your IT security. What is the purpose of these tools and how do you use them properly? In this article we are going to teach you some of the basics.
A password isn’t necessarily secure, because there are different methods to guess passwords. Very simple passwords basically consist of words, names or numbers. The later is most of the time related to an important date or a person’s birthday. These phrases are easy to guess, because one only needs a list with all available words in the dictionary.
While it would take quite some time for you to try every single possible word in the dictionary, a computer can perform such a task within a blink of an eye. Therefore, a strong password needs to be more complex.
But achieving complexity comes with certain problems. First, if you think of a complete random combination of letters, numbers and special characters you might feel very safe. But the fact is that a password that you can think of is not as random as the random results generated by software.
A second problem is that it is very difficult for humans to remember many such random combinations. Our brains are wired to see and produce patterns.
Let the software do the job
This is where password managers will improve your security greatly. There are many solutions available on the market. Some of them are even freeware and are as good and reliable as any other solution that you have to pay for. Here is a list of features that your password manager must have:
- Password generator, using random letters (lower and upper case), numbers and special characters
- A password protected container
- Option to save 2FA secrets and notes as well
- Easy to use on all your devices
With a manager you don’t need to worry about the randomness of your generated passwords and it is easy to remember them. For each website, user account or service you simply create an entry in your password manager and its unique password. If you like to login to a service you copy and paste the complex password form your manager.
Please note that the container with all your passwords and secrets must be password protected. You should generate this master password and write it down and store it in a secure place. It might be hard to memorize it, but from now on this is the only complex password that you’ll have to remember.
This way you only use strong and unique passwords. The reuse of weak passwords is one of the top 5 reasons for security breaches.