The average person is signed up to about 27 accounts online (or if you’re like me, over 60).
Each of these accounts requires a password, and many services require you to follow their own specific set of rules for password creation. This can include a mix of lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, special characters, spaces and specific lengths (e.g. 8–16 characters).
The problem is that the majority of us use the same password or slightly different variations of the same password for everything we sign up to.
The biggest concern of all is that if one of the services you’re signed up to has their security breached, this could potentially give hackers access to all your other accounts using the same variation of password that was stolen. The best solution to this problem is to have a completely different password for every account you use, so if one account is breached, the rest of your accounts remain perfectly secure.
Not only is it incredibly unsafe to use the same or similar passwords across all your accounts, it can also be extremely confusing.
Isn’t it frustrating when you go to sign in to an account you haven’t visited in a while and realise you’ve completely forgotten which password variation you originally used.
Not only that, you’ve likely run in to the next problem of being locked out of your account after attempting to login more than three times.
After the 20 minutes you’re told to wait before your next login attempt, instead of making another attempt, you click the ‘Forgot Password’ link and start thinking up a complex new password that you’ll likely forget again in the next few days (or in my case, hours).
Before you know it, you’re following this exact same process every time you want to quickly log in to something.
If only there were a tool we could use to easily create completely different and extremely strong passwords for each of our accounts, store them securely and remember them all for us.
Oh wait, there already is! They’re called password managers and they’ve been around for quite some time now.
Password managers are great, and once you start using one, you won’t want to go back.
The basic concept of a password manager is that you have one, yes… one ‘Master Password’ that gives you access to all your other encrypted passwords. They’re really easy to use, and updating all your pre-existing accounts with new passwords is a breeze. Once you have all your accounts setup in the password manager, you can then use your password manager to automatically navigate and login to websites at the click of a button.
Here is a great little introduction video for anyone new to Password Managers.
I was sceptical at first when I heard about these apps, and it pays to be in this day and age, however after doing my research on them, and realising how beneficial they are, I made the switch and will never look back.
I highly recommend you also use a password manager. It will keep your accounts secure, speed up your productivity and free up some space in your brain for other important things in life.
I use a service called 1Password (I highly recommend it), however there are many different options (LastPass, Dashlane etc.) and it’s just a case of which one works best for you.
Submitted by Ben Harris | Graphic Designer, PDC Mt Eden