“Don’t use the same password for everything!” You’ve probably heard this advice countless times, but it can be so tempting to reuse your favorite passwords—especially if you struggle to remember new ones. Although it seems annoying to create a new password for each new account you use, a password manager (PW manager) can help! But before we get into all the details, let’s review the basics. What is a password manager, and how it can help you out? We’ll also explore a very important question: Are password managers safe?
What is a password manager?
Password managers give you the perk of only having to remember one password while storing varied, more complex passwords through encryption. They give you an added layer of protection, which serves as a vault to safeguard all your passwords in one place.
A great PW manager can even generate and organize highly secure passwords for you that are nearly impossible to breach. There’s a lot to learn about PW managers and what they can do. But what if the unthinkable happens and you wind up in a security jam? Are password managers safe? Or will they let you down and expose your personal information to cybercriminals?
What is a data breach?
A data breach is what most people call “getting hacked.” Your account is compromised because someone broke through your password. And if that account happens to be your PW manager, you could be in a sticky situation.
If someone manages to crack into your PW manager, they could gain access to all kinds of personal data. Imagine the following information in the wrong hands:
- Bank account passwords: Financial information can be stolen and misused, spelling disaster for you, your credit score, and your wallet.
- Social media accounts: Personal information here can be used to impersonate you and scam others, potentially tarnishing your reputation and harming people who trust you. Private information stored in social media accounts, like birthdays and addresses, can also enable cybercriminals to “verify” themselves and gain access to bank or email accounts.
- Email accounts: Your email grants access to all kinds of personal messages and login verification capabilities, including the ability to reset your passwords and lock you out so you can’t even exercise damage control.
- Data/cloud storage accounts: If ransomware enters the picture, a cybercriminal can hold your personal records and irreplaceable data hostage until you pay whatever fee they demand. And even if you pay, there’s no guarantee you’ll get your data back.
What do I do if my PW manager is compromised?
While PW managers are a great way to bridge the gap between security and convenience, nothing is perfect. Even some highly reputable PW managers like LastPass have been hacked. Luckily, there are a few quick steps you can take to nip a problematic security breach in the bud.
- Export your passwords immediately after spotting the breach. Make sure you encrypt the file to guard your info against the criminal who broke into your account. Don’t leave your export file as plain text, either.
- Find a new PW manager. This step might sound annoying at first, but remember it’ll be as easy as creating a single, new account with one master password. Then you’ll be right back to maximum safety and convenience with a fresh PW management system.
- Import your password file to your new PW manager to secure your accounts once again.
- Change all passwords in your old PW manager before moving on. And make sure your new master password is different from the old one!
How can I protect my passwords?
By now, you may be wondering “Are password managers safe after all?” And yes, overall, they’re still safe—even if they aren’t perfect. No security measure is 100% effective, but a quality PW manager is still one of the best security tools out there!
Besides, you can take extra measures to double down on your personal security, such as two-factor authentication (2FA). 2FA offers an added layer of security by requiring you to verify your identity, usually with a text code sent to a separate device. 2FA can even use biometric factors and may be able to send you alerts if there’s any suspicious activity so that you can take action immediately.
You also want a solid internet connection with high speeds that can handle biometric factors and other cutting-edge security tools. Quantum Fiber offers 360 WiFi with built-in security features, so you’ll be able to respond to any risks quickly and effectively. Our 360 WiFi also comes with built-in WPA3 encryption, making PW manager breaches less likely and easier to fix.
Are password managers safe? Not 100%, but many people still find them useful
While it’s never a good time for someone to break into your PW manager, a high-speed internet connection will empower you to respond right away and take back your data control. No matter which PW manager and 2FA combo you like best, make sure you’re using a secure internet connection and using a strong master password to protect your vault! And don’t forget to encrypt your data whenever you can.
For more information on how Quantum Fiber can help you stay on top of your own personal security system in case of a data breach, stop by our blog. With Quantum Fiber on your side, you’ll have much less to worry about if your PW manager is compromised!
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