Today, there are new cybersecurity minimums that every business should have. However, with Athens Micro as your IT partner, you don’t have to settle for minimums, thanks to our Cybersecurity Protection Packages.
Our Cybersecurity Protection Package 1 includes password management, which you’ll learn more about in this post.
Passwords have been an integral part of our digital lives. These secret combinations of letters, numbers, and special characters keep unauthorized users from accessing our accounts. For passwords to fulfill this purpose, we must meet the following password creation requirements:
For passwords to keep unauthorized users from accessing our accounts, we must meet stringent password creation requirements, but the difficulty to do so makes us create ineffective passwords.
Passwords must be strong
For a password to be considered strong, it must be long and complex. If you limit a password to numerical characters, you’ll see that there are 10 possibilities for a one-character password and 100 possibilities for a two-character one. This goes to show that lengthening a password by merely one character drastically makes it harder to crack via brute force attacks, which are becoming more sophisticated by the day. Security experts used to say that passwords should have at least 8 characters, but today, they recommend 12 or more characters.
Experts also recommend increasing password complexity further by either utilizing a nonsensical string of words or including uppercase and lowercase letters and special characters. Both methods make passwords tougher to guess, but also make them harder to remember.
Passwords must be unique
Of course, length and complexity wouldn’t matter if the password itself is commonly used, as in the case of “password1234,” so the password must be uncommon as well. Passwords must also be unique from one account to another. This is because if you reuse a password and that gets stolen, all of the accounts that use that password will be compromised. However, making each password unique compounds the recall problem.
Remembering multiple passwords can take a lot of mental effort, and recovering them is a hassle, so users tend to keep written records on paper or a digital document. While this helps with the memory problem, it also makes it easier for others to steal your passwords.
Thankfully, there is a tool that can make your passwords strong and unique — and remember all but one of them for you: a password manager.
What is a password manager?
A password manager is a program that stores and manages your access credentials. It can be cloud-based and come in multiple forms all at once, such as a web-based app, a browser extension, a desktop app, or a mobile app. All of these forms allow you to access your credentials anywhere, from any internet-connected device.
Alternatively, a password manager can be a program that runs locally on your device. It stores your credentials in your machine, which means that you don’t have to go online to access them. However, if you lose your device, then you lose all your passwords stored in it as well.
Storing credentials entails encrypting these in a database, then locking that database behind your master password. This password is the only one you will ever have to memorize and use to log into the app and unlock your credentials vault.
Unlocking your vault allows you to view your encrypted passwords and permits the password manager to autofill account login credentials for you. You can also use the password manager to generate a strong and unique password when you create a new online account or change the password for an existing account.
Some advanced password managers even allow privileged users to share access credentials for shared accounts. That is, the privileged user or admin can let another user use a set of credentials, but that user can’t share it to others. This makes utilizing shared accounts easier to administer and keep secure.
What are the benefits of using a password manager?
Let’s sum up the benefits of using a password manager here, plus add a few we haven’t mentioned yet:
- Ease of access – You can retrieve your credentials anywhere, from any device.
- One password to remember – You have to create and memorize only one strong and unique password. You’ll never have to recover any passwords ever again — except if you forget your master password.
- Password auto-generation – No need to trouble yourself with coming up with strong and unique passwords for every account.
- Password encryption – Your passwords are safe while in storage. Password managers have been hacked in the past, but so far, no passwords have been reported as stolen, thanks to these being encrypted.
- Credential autofill – Some password managers save account information, such as account names and addresses, and autofill these as well to save you time and effort when filling out forms.
- Phishing site detection – Autofill only works if the password manager recognizes the website that’s tied to your access credentials. Therefore, if you land on a site and the password manager doesn’t autofill your credentials, that means you’re on a spoofed site and must leave it immediately.
- Digital inheritance – In the event of your passing, the executor administering your estate may grant your heirs access to your password vault.
Let our IT specialists at Athens Micro help make your passwords as secure as possible. Drop us a line to learn more about our password manager and the rest of our Cybersecurity Protection Package today.
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