Password security guide: Fortify your online life with a password manager

by | Dec 20, 2022

A young woman practicing good password security by using a password manager with her laptop.
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Cyberattacks have made major headlines this year and will continue to be a significant threat into 2023 and beyond. From your home WiFi network to your social media logins, password security is more important than ever.

According to a survey by NordPass, the average person has around 100 passwords to keep track of. Another study by Security Magazine showed that business users can have an average of 191! So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by keeping track of all your accounts, you aren’t alone. Consider using a password manager to simplify your online life.

What exactly is a password manager, anyway?

Password managers are programs or applications that securely store your login credentials all in one place. Some of them can even store credit card numbers, addresses, phone numbers, and other data to streamline your online shopping experience.

At a basic level, password managers allow you to:

  • Keep track of a wide variety of different passwords across different accounts. This makes it much easier to follow the golden rule of password security: Create a new password for every single account.
  • Access your login credentials through biometric data such as fingerprint readers or facial recognition. (Note: In some cases, they leave out the biometrics and require a master password instead).
  • Autofill your login information on all your favorite websites.
  • Generate and manage highly secure passwords that are extremely difficult to crack.
  • Encrypt your data for an added layer of security.

Password managers are an excellent option for those of us with an on-the-go, “always online” lifestyle. They offer peace of mind and a sense of freedom while browsing the internet and using your favorite applications. But despite all the benefits, trust for password managers remains lukewarm.

Why should I use a password manager for optimal password security?

Two women wishing they practiced better password security after falling victim to a cyberattack.

Here are some of the main perks of password managers, aside from keeping track of all your passwords:

They can warn you about phishing

According to Microsoft 365, password managers can lower your chances of falling victim to a phishing attempt. One method cybercriminals use to carry out phishing attacks (and their highly-targeted cousins, spear phishing attacks) involves sending email links that redirect users to dangerous websites.

Depending on the skill of the threat actor, these sites can appear highly legitimate. For example, criminals may design a site meant to harvest passwords that looks exactly like the Amazon login screen. Then, they’ll send you an email stating that you need to check on your order status, complete with a link that sends you off to this phony webpage.

This is where password managers come to the rescue. In this scenario, your password manager would recognize that you weren’t actually on Amazon’s website, even if the URL was cleverly engineered to trick you. Cybercriminals often find success with misspelled words and different domain extensions, but password managers are smart enough to detect these small changes and prevent your login info from auto-filling.

They reduce your chances of getting hit by ransomware

Another way password managers boost your password security is by lowering your chances of being hit by a successful ransomware attack. These devious schemes are conducted in a variety of ways. Cybercriminals may encrypt your data, making it unreadable, then demand you pay a fee to access it again. In some cases, ransomware attacks even prevent users from performing basic tasks like typing or using a mouse—holding all their data hostage until they receive their payment. Even then, sometimes access is never restored.

Sounds scary, right? The good news is, you can help prevent ransomware attacks with a password manager that uses encryption and multi-factor authentication. According to a study by Coveware, around 75% of ransomware attacks were tied to compromised login credentials. If you safeguard your password with a password manager, you’re less likely to be a target. However, when it comes to ransomware, integrating a password manager into your multi-layered security strategy is unfortunately just one piece of the puzzle.

They offer increased protection for IoT devices

The Internet of Things—which is made up of devices like smart security cameras, doorbells, and thermostats—is notoriously easy for cybercriminals to compromise. Our Smart Home Security Guide goes into more detail. However, one step you can take right away to boost your IoT security is setting up a password manager. By choosing complex, difficult-to-guess passwords and storing them on your password manager, it will be much harder for cybercriminals to tap into your IoT devices. If you have a lot of smart home devices on your network, password managers make life easier by creating and storing a different password for each one.

They make sharing accounts with friends and family easier

The least sinister option on this list, password managers with family accounts offer some exciting features. Aside from helping you keep track of all your passwords, they let you share access to streaming services, photo sharing sites, and countless other applications. The best part is, you can do all this without letting your family members even see your actual password!

Here’s an example of when this would be ideal: You want your parents to use your Netflix account while they’re staying over for the weekend without giving them the actual password.

What are some trusted password security options?

Choosing the right password manager can seem difficult at first, but there are plenty of trusted options out there. A general rule of thumb is that you want to look for a well-established application with:

  • Encryption capabilities.
  • Multi-factor authentication.
  • Good ratings.
  • Family sharing capabilities.

LastPass is well-regarded and trusted by businesses around the world, along with BitWarden. Here’s a regularly updated list of password managers for you to choose from according to your unique needs.

Robust password security is easier than ever with a password manager

A happy woman practices good password security and simplifies her online life.

Don’t let password security fall by the wayside! Keep track of passwords with a trusted password manager so you can work, stream, and browse in peace. Don’t forget that even if you’re using a password manager, it’s important to use a different password for every site or app you use. And make sure to practice other security strategies as you work, browse, and play. Last but not least, bookmark our blog and come back soon for more security tips from Quantum Fiber!

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