You are being attacked. Right now. At this moment, untold numbers of ‘bots’ are roaming the Internet and pushing against your accounts, looking for a way in. When a bot gets lucky and gets into your account, you’ve been hacked. The best way to prevent this: good passwords.
Password Managers and ‘Good’ Passwords
What is a ‘good’ password? Simply put, a ‘good’ password is one that a human being cannot read or remember. For example,
Tomato1985 isn’t a bad start! This password includes upper and lower case letters as well as numbers. However, this password is weakened by the use of a full word ‘Tomato’, its relatively short length, and lack of so-called special characters, such as ‘!%#’.
bCFRIEt#n5!n3uR is a very secure password. It is 15 randomly generated characters including upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters. So how do you create and remember super secure passwords like this one? A password manager!
Better Security with a Password Manager
There are three big threats to your security online that you can control:
- Weak or insecure passwords
- Duplicate passwords
- Insecure sharing of passwords by email, SMS and etc
We’ve discussed weak passwords in the previous section. You should also be wary of using the same password with more than one account. Sharing a password among many sites makes you much more vulnerable online. If one account gets hacked, a malicious user may be able to gain access to many more of your accounts if you’ve used the same password with different sites.
Similarly, if you need to share a password with a colleague or family member, you should use a secure means of password sharing. Email is not secure, neither is SMS, WhatsApp or other similar means of sharing text. These options are vulnerable to hacking and/or ‘social engineering’ attacks and should be avoided.
The right password manager can help you avoid these 3 pitfalls. Password managers help you to:
- Create stronger, more secure passwords
- Ensure unique passwords for all your accounts
- Provide more secure password sharing
Password Manager Review
Password managers aren’t new. They have been around for years. You have a lot to choose from. Check out CNET’s password manager review for some of the more recent and well-regarded password managers out there.
Our pick? LastPass. LastPass offers a secure way to create and store great passwords. You use it with your browser – Firefox, Chrome, IE etc – and with Mac or OS operating systems. There is a free version that works with your desktop or laptop computer. Want LastPass on your phone or tablet? There’s a premium version for a mere $12.00USD/£7.99GBP per year!
LastPass works by encrypting and decrypting sensitive information on your machine. Your encrypted data is then synced with your LastPass Vault. You can access your Vault from anywhere with an Internet connection. Your information stays safe, because your passwords are encrypted before they are sent to your Vault. LastPass helps you easily create very secure passwords, store those passwords safely, and share them securely. Want to know more, read the LifeHacker
Bottom line: you are at risk. If you ran WordPress hosting like we do, monitoring and protecting our servers from attacks, then you’d be aware of just how many little bots are out there, poking at your accounts, trying to get in.
Take your online security seriously. Weak passwords are the main reason people get their email, Facebook and other important accounts hacked. You can do something about it. Using a password manager does have a small learning curve. You can do it! Sure, web-savvy people are more likely to use a password manager. But! There are no expert skills required and modern password managers are designed with the layperson in mind.