Why do I Need a Password Manager
Although more and more businesses and individuals are implementing essential security measures, data breaches are still considered as one of the main threats of the digital age. In early 2019, security researcher Troy Hunt also revealed one of the most massive known caches of stolen records, which contain a whopping 21 million stolen passwords. Moreover, according to a report published by Risk Based Security, 2019 has seen a 54% increase in the number of reported breaches vs. the first six months of 2018. The report further adds that “more and more sensitive data is exposed when insiders fail to properly handle or secure the information ” .To put it simply, it seems like we are still not taking enough action concerning cybersecurity and, consequently, are facing severe consequences. Times are rapidly changing, and we must adapt ourselves, or we are risking a breach, compromised accounts, data and identity theft, and substantial financial losses. The good news is this faith is evitable so long as we do whatever is required to protect our accounts.
So long 123456
Only a few years ago, things seemed to be different. Whereas today, many people would avoid passwords that are simple, short, and memorable, once this was the norm. Passwords like “qwerty,” “password,” and “123456” were among the most popular passwords for personal and business use alike. However, this is no longer valid today: cyber-attacks are making headlines, the number of online services we use has grown, and, most importantly, we are much more aware of security guidelines. For example, most sensitive services stipulate that users choose a combination of capital letters, numbers, and symbols and change their password every few months, a strategy meant to protect users’ data from falling into the wrong hands. There is a problem, however. Most combinations we create ourselves are not as random as we’d like to think and can actually help hackers identify a pattern we’re unaware of and use it against us.
What’s the Password Again?
Even if a user can randomly pick a combination that is considered strong enough, it often means it isn’t too memorable. Sure, users can always copy and paste passwords to their notes, but this solution isn’t safe enough, nor is it convenient. Given the fact that many of us are required to change a password every once in a while, and the fact that the average person operates about 90 accounts in total , keeping track of old vs. new passwords is becoming increasingly convoluted. While you can (often) click on “forgot password” and reset it, you’ll then need to verify your identity and enter a new password, which you’ll need to remember. Sounds complicated? That’s because it is.
Password Manager: Top Security, Top Convenience, Small Fee
A password manager features multiple solutions to your data woes in one, easy-to-use, affordable product. It’s designed to secure your sensitive information, passwords, and payment info, among other things, and help you manage and pull this data whenever necessary. There are a few basic features that most password managers share in common:
- Password generator: as previously mentioned generating strong passwords is not a recommended strategy since it isn’t easy and might even backfire. Using a dedicated service that creates and saves strong and random passwords is key to a secure account. A password manager allows users to generate and store an unlimited amount of unique passwords.
- Sync across devices: sync across devices is a fundamental requirement since most people today access digital services on mobile devices as well as desktop. For example, a user may launch a session on their mobile device and then switch to desktop and vice versa. A password manager pulls their login credentials automatically, allowing them to benefit from a seamless browsing experience.
- Autofill: nobody likes to fill their details on online forms. It’s time-consuming, pesky, and repetitive. Luckily, autofill is one of the perks that come along with a premium password manager. Thanks to the sync across devices feature, users can automatically fill forms on multiple devices, as long as the password manager app is installed and up to date.
- Secure notes: though a password manager is designed to store passwords and login credentials, you can also use it to save other sensitive information, such as driver’s license, social security number, or passport number. Some apps even allow the uploading and storing of entire files (contracts, receipts, etc.).
Secure sharing: there are too few ways in which you can securely share your login credentials with your inner circle. A password manager helps users share any information, passwords or otherwise, with their contacts with only a few clicks.
- Security audit: weak passwords are all too common. A password manager usually allows users to perform a security audit and shows them how many of their passwords need to be changed, either because they aren’t strong enough or because they were compromised.
Other Important Security Services
There are myriad of services designed to protect users from virtual hazards, which seem to be multiplying by the day. Three common ones are VPN, ID Theft Protection Service, and Robo Calls Blockers.
A Virtual Privacy Network (VPN) is a service that connects between a device and a remote, secure server, creating a virtual separation of users from the internet. The service allows any user connected to the service to send and receive private information via what’s commonly referred to as a “tunnel.” Thanks to the tunnel, eavesdroppers and hackers cannot access such a session and its related data. What’s more, a device connected to a VPN will show the same IP address as the VPN server. This means no one can see where the session was initiated and by whom. Click here to view the best VPN services.
Identity Theft Protection Service
Identity theft—the use of someone else’s identity to gain a benefit associated with it (e.g., bank information, customer data, etc.)—has become one of the most serious virtual hazards. According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), identity fraud is the seventh-largest crime in the U.S , affecting a growing number of individual consumers and businesses. In fact, and according to a 2016 report “Cost of Data Breach Study: Global Analysis,” identity theft occurs every two seconds on average. Luckily, cybersecurity experts are always thinking ahead. Today, there are numerous theft protection services whose goal is to intercept identity theft attempts and even restore stolen identities by scanning the web, monitoring it, and sending alerts when necessary. Some examples of security features related to identity theft protection are dark web monitoring, risk management reports, anti-phishing mobile apps, and address monitoring.
The “robocalls scourge,” as referred to by the Federal Communications Commission, are unsolicited calls that deliver prerecorded messages. These calls have become an epidemic that caught media attention in 2019, as an AARP survey revealed that an estimated 48 billion robocalls were made over a year, out of which 40% are estimated as fraudulent . One typical example of such fraud is a robocall sales call offering a service and asking an individual for their credit card information. Another example is a robocall claiming to be a legitimate governmental agency (like Social Security or Internal Revenue Service) in order to lure an individual into giving their personal information (such as social security number) over the phone. Once the person provides their info, they become much more susceptible to identity fraud. While you may try to block a robocall number, the odds are you will be contacted by a new number shortly after. Due to the aggressive rise of robocalls, many people now use robocall blocking apps and services. These apps offer spam calls filtering and often similar, associated services such as SMS spam protection, and personal blocklists. Click here to view the best spam call products.
Our data—from personal information such as passport number all the way to our passwords and bank accounts—is more vulnerable than it’s ever been due to cybercriminals and the wealth of technology tools available at their disposal. We can protect our data either by disconnecting from every virtual service, which isn’t too practical, or by taking protective security measures. And although we’ve introduced robocall blockers, VPN services, and identity theft protection services, your first step to protecting your data starts with a great password manager. A premium password manager keeps sensitive records and all passwords in one secure place and helps you manage data and be notified of virtual breaches. There is a selection of password managers you choose from, depending on your use cases, budget, and interface preferences. We advise you to first recognize your needs and pain points, then have a look at a comparative overview. You can then make an informed choice that takes all criteria into consideration and provides you with enhanced security and sensitive data management tool. Remember: today, more than ever, “better safe than sorry” is much more than a vapid expression.