18 September 2023
In an era where digital footprints span countless websites and apps, the demand for passwords seems relentless. Stricter requirements for longer, more complex passwords, coupled with the need for frequent changes, leave us pondering a crucial question – how many passwords can one truly remember? Enter the password manager, a tool that’s as essential as it is misunderstood.
Let’s explore why you should use one, how it works and why it is crucial to safeguarding your online presence.
Before delving into the specifics of password managers, let’s take a moment to understand why online security is so important. Your online accounts, be it your email, banking or social media contain a wealth of personal information so any unauthorised access to these could lead to identity theft, financial loss and privacy breaches. In fact, cyber threats are growing in both number and sophistication, posing a real danger to individuals and businesses alike. In fact, a report by Cybersecurity Ventures anticipates that cybercrime will cost the world $10.5 trillion annually by 2025.
One of the first lines of defence against cyber threats is using strong, unique passwords for each of your accounts. Unfortunately, many of us fall into the habit of recycling the same password across various services or resorting to minor tweaks when updates are mandated. But here’s the stark reality, this approach is far from secure and in fact, it’s a virtual invitation to cyber hackers. In essence, your online security is only as strong as your weakest password.
A specialised service designed to help you store and manage your passwords securely, a password manager stores these in an encrypted database, accessible only through a master password and the only one you need to remember. Sounds useful right? What’s more, some of the best password managers are free and are accessible through a website, while most of them also provide a mobile app and browser extensions.
Password managers are not only easy to use, but come equipped with several features.
Perhaps one of the most obvious benefits of using a password manager is the fact that it uses
high-level encryption to keep your passwords safe, which means that even if a hacker were to infiltrate your computer, they would not be able to access your encrypted password vault without the master password. Beyond enhanced security, some other important benefits include:
Convenience: You just need to know that one master password, making it easier to use strong and unique passwords for all your accounts.
Unique passwords: The best password is one that’s hard to guess and unique to each account. A password manager can generate these for you, further enhancing your online security.
Cross-platform syncing: Most managers sync across all your devices, ensuring you have access to these whether you’re on your phone, tablet or computer.
Time-saving: They save you time by auto-filling login forms, streamlining your online experience.
Although the ‘remember password’ feature may sound similar to a password manager, this is in fact quite different. For starters, passwords are not always strongly encrypted and can be accessed by anyone who can get a hold of that device, while features such as password generation are usually missing. In addition, your browser’s password storage tends to be limited to that specific browser on a particular device. In contrast, password managers are designed for cross-platform support. Lastly, browsers mainly focus on password storage and auto-fill functionality and may lack advanced features like password health checks, password sharing or secure notes that many dedicated password managers offer.
In a world where your digital identity is your most valuable asset, the power to protect it rests in your hands. With the ability to forge complex, unique passwords, the shield of multi-factor authentication and the convenience of auto-fill, a password manager isn’t just a tool, it’s your trusty companion on the path to a safer, more streamlined online experience.