Your passwords are the access points to all of your important sites and your information. Therefore, it is imperative that you have the right types of passwords. However, in today’s world, it is a really terrible idea to have the same password for several different sites. This means if someone is to hack into your system and take advantage of your universal password, you will end up in a lot of trouble. The problem with a compromised universal password is everything from your social media to your financial accounts is vulnerable. Obviously, there is a very real price to pay when password malpractice is exploited.
That being said, many people are rightly vexed when someone tells them that they need to have a bunch of multiple passwords otherwise they are not safety conscious. Let’s be honest – who in the world wants to remember a dozen different passwords? This is why having a password keeper like a paper notebook or a more sophisticated password manager is the ideal solution to the multiple password chaos. With the requirements for password security getting more complex, it is imperative to have an effective way to keep track of your passwords. When you use the systems talked about in this article, you will be able to keep track of passwords without much effort and have all your different passwords be incredibly secure.
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How Do Hackers Steal Passwords?
There are several methods that hackers use to steal passwords, and this is why having a universal password is a really terrible idea. Some of the ways hackers obtain passwords are not your fault, but if your Gmail password is the same as your banking password, the hackers can use that password to get all your information.
There are a few ways that hackers can get your password. Leaks are a major way this happens. When a company is hacked, usernames and passwords get leaked onto the web. If your username and password are the same in multiple sites, you’re in trouble. This type of identity theft is called credential recycling, and it is a really simple way to get very personal information to use.
With Brute Force Attacks and Keyloggers, these are both simple ways to crack your passwords without hackers having to work too hard. Brute Force Attacks use tools to try tons of combinations for passwords. The shorter the password, the easier to crack. Keyloggers work similarly except these are programs that slip onto your computer and follow your keystrokes. This is a lot of data to look through, but they are sophisticated nonetheless because your information gets compromised and nefarious types get the access they are looking for.
Another threat to your passwords is phishing. These e-mails are about being plausible enough for you to click. When you click on the e-mail, this allows malware to get into your computers and steal your data. Phishing is all over, and with nearly 3 out of 4 businesses affected by phishing in 2017, having your passwords unprotected means a simple sly e-mail can cause you months of problems.
Creating a Good Password
Now that you understand how hackers steal passwords before you can work on keeping track of passwords you have to understand exactly what constitutes a good password. First, let’s go over things that are not going to be helpful for your password protection:
- Using personal information like birthdays or children’s names
- Short passwords
- Single-word passwords
- Passwords that don’t contain special characters
These are just some simple things that can create a bad password. Here are some ways that you can create great passwords:
- Length: The longer the password, the better. Phrases are great and some people recommend going for 16 character passwords. Incorporate upper case and lower case letters along with numbers and special characters into the passwords
- Unique: It has been said throughout this article and anywhere you go about passwords that if you are using the same password for all of your accounts, you are asking for trouble. If you have an account that requires a password, it should be different than any other site with a password requirement. So, if you have twelve different websites you need a password to log into, you need twelve different passwords
- Random: Don’t make your password something personal. There are people who use formulas to come up with a random password. This is a very easy way to come up with a series of passwords.
Now that you have the information needed to create good passwords, the next step is to store the passwords. The notebook next to the computer is one option, but a password manager makes storing your passwords with security a much more viable option for your browsing needs.
What is a Password Manager and How Do They Work?
A password manager is a simple way to store all your passwords in one safe and secure location. There are some different technical aspects to how a password manager works, but the way it gets started is the password manager is where you input login credentials to your sites. What happens then is the password manager goes to work protecting your passwords. This is done in a couple of different ways.
The first way is through encryption. The encryption can be done via 128 bit or 256-bit encryption. What that means in practical terms is if someone sees your password, they see a ton of different random letters and numbers to decrypt. This is tedious, annoying work to decrypt these passwords and that’s why hackers pass on them.
Another thing that password managers do is hashing. Hashing passwords essentially creates a key, but having a hash alone is not secure, so the next step is to salt the passwords. Similar to encryption, salting is a way of making the passwords difficult to decode if they are found. Essentially, salting hashed passwords adds different combinations and layers to the password, making it hard to crack.
The password manager is something that will help you keep track of all your different passwords so you can easily remain secure.