Password Managers Help Internet Users Stay Safe Online

The fact that hackers are using more sophisticated tools than ever to crack your passwords mean that many computers users are now employing the password manager. Password managers assist with the creation of passwords that are long and complicated. These programs can also integrate with your browser to automatically fill in your login information. This thwarts hackers who may be using keyloggers to obtain usernames and passwords. Not using a password manager could put internet users at significant risk. This is because many online accounts are interconnected, meaning users employ the same login information for several sites.

Many internet users think that the ‘hashed’ form, where passwords appear as a series of asterisks means that they are safe. But the truth is that these hashed passwords can easily be transferred to plain text by hackers. Recently, it was discovered that hackers can easily crack even the most seemingly-complicated passwords in very little time. This is due to the increased strength of computers and their increased ability to process several combinations of numbers and letters. When accessing sites with passwords, experts recommend that any password contain a minimum of 11 characters. This will ensure increased complexity, making hackers’ jobs more difficult.

Even though it is 2013 and many think that technology has come very far – which it definitely has – the fact remains that no password manager will be perfect. As well, not all users may find that going the password manager route is something that works for them. And skepticism abounds about many password managers, most of which rely on a cloud-based platform. The fact that the cloud is being used for the purposes of syncing login information across more than one device can also means that a weak point could be exposed to hackers.

However, it has been claimed by many a professional that the benefits outweigh the risks when a password management system is used which created passwords that are both unique to each site and created for strength. The encryption scheme of many password managers includes initial encryption of data on the host computer, and the master password to unlock other site passwords never being stored in the cloud.

Of course, a password manager will never work properly unless it is used. Even so, many find it difficult to make the password management program a part of their daily routine. Many managers will have more than one installation. Not only will you have to install the program on your computer, but you may also need to install a browser application. It is recommended that both be done in order to obtain the highest level of security. However, usernames are another security risk that should also be changed, especially where an email is used as a username. If a site won’t allow the creation of a username unless it’s an email via internet service, using a ‘junk’ email account or finding another site are your options. Password recovery questions such as your mother’s maiden name and first digits of a Social Security number don’t have to be answered truthfully, suggest the pros.

~Linda Schweitzer