I am often asked about storing passwords; How to make a good password and where to keep them secure. The latest advice from the National CyberSecurity Centre (part of GCHQ) is that using a password manager is a good thing.
What is a password manager?
A password manager helps you generate and retrieve complex passwords, storing them in an encrypted database. This can be in an app on your phone, or a program on your computer. Some will even auto-fill in your passwords when you are on a website which saves you the hassle of remembering passwords and having to think up new ones all the time.
Why should I use a password manager?
Most people have too many passwords to remember and it is important not to use the same password on multiple sites in case of a security breach. Password managers do the following:
1.Make it easier to use long, complex passwords without taxing your brain.
2.Generate new passwords when you need them and paste them in to the website logon box for you.
3.Sync across all your devices, so you will have your passwords on your phone, tablet or computer.
Are there any drawbacks?
Yes, password managers have been successfully attacked in the past so there is a risk of all your passwords getting stolen in one go. The database will be protected by a single master password. If you forget the master password, you will lose access to all your other passwords. Finally, some banks won’t let you use the automatic filling in of passwords function. Browser based password managers are slightly more vulnerable than the standalone program versions because, anyone who shares your computer could have access to the password list.
I recommend using a standalone password manager as you will have more control over where and when you use your passwords, along with other added features. I use one called SafeinCloud, but there are others like LastPass and KeePass. I still memorise certain passwords, the ones that would ruin your life if they got hacked, for example online banking. In the future I hope we will move more towards biometrics like finger prints instead of passwords, as least you can’t forget your finger!
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Caroline The ‘PuterTutor