The password management dilemma; keeping your password safe

Today it’s simply impossible to have one or two online accounts. Everyone has at the very least three different accounts. Some are social, others financial and others recreational. With the increasing number of log-ins one has to make in a day, the need to keep the passwords memorized increases.

There are three basic rules to passwords. One is make them complex so it becomes hard to guess. This means using a mixture of letters and numbers. Many online accounts will require that passwords be at least eight characters long.

Now, that makes making one complex but memorable password quite a task and if you have ten or so accounts to log into then making memorable passwords becomes daunting.  Two is to make sure that your passwords for each account are unique. That way if one password is accessed then your other accounts will be safe. Three is to regularly change passwords. This is especially important for people who work in IT in large companies.

Seeing the challenge in managing passwords, there have been several password management options that are out there. For these options one needs to set a master password then the management software will auto fill the other passwords for the user every time the user log ins into an account. The effect therefore is that one only needs to remember one password.

The problem with this arrangement is that it places the point of vulnerability on the master password. That means that if an attacker gains access to that then he or she gains access to the full catalogue of accounts associated with the password manager.

The other challenge is that the password management firm becomes a target for hackers. This is because if they gain access to that data ten they can hack into millions of accounts online. Recently password management service LastPass was attacked, to show that this is a real risk.

The third challenge is that the use of a password manager can be taken advantage of by malware such as a key-logger installed in the user’s device. That is why it is recommended that users keep their software updated and their devices protected by anti-malware software.

While password management services allow convenience in the management of passwords, they also present a unique set of challenges. These however are challenges that can be dealt with by making sure that software is protected, taking care of the master password and safe browsing habits such as always using a VPN to ensure encryption of traffic and masking of IP addresses and locations.

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