By Edwin Alvarado
With news coming out almost every day about breaches at different companies, it seems like our passwords are always at risk. Companies are expected to scramble your password after you enter them, a practice known as hashing, but not all companies use robust or up-to-date algorithms, making it easy for hackers to revert the hashing process and see your password in basic plain text. However, the longer and more complex you make your passwords the harder and more time it takes for hackers to decrypt them. Since it can be difficult to always come up with and keep track of unique, complex passwords, using a password manager will take the frustration out of passwords.
Password managers protect you by generating strong and distinctive passwords for each website that you use which means you don’t have to. Having a different password for every account keeps you safe from “password-reuse” attacks, in which the attacker would breach a website, take your email address, your password and attempt to log in to other websites using the same email/password combinations they stole. Password managers make it simple to use a unique password for every online account and by using a different password for every online account you will greatly increase your security online.
Password managers also stop “impostor” websites from “phishing” attacks. Imitation websites are created to look identical to legitimate websites with the intent to trick you into entering your password for that account. Attackers will send you emails that appear to be coming from the website they want to mimic but they will give a link to the attacker’s website (i.e. facbook.com instead of facebook.com). Password managers protect you from these attacks because they will not enter your password into a website with an incorrect URL. Your password manager will know which websites your passwords are associated with and if the website address does not match up then the password manager will not enter the credentials into the fake website.
It can be overwhelming to manage multiple passwords, especially in a world where the number of accounts you have is increasing each day. It is very tempting to resort to bad practices when it comes to passwords (ie. using weak passwords, the same password, etc.) but if you do, you are putting yourself at risk. Passwords are not going anywhere and using a password management tool will help you keep your accounts secure.