Too Many Passwords and Too Little “Personal” Memory!
I began my morning by starting up my PC and getting the message “Your password has expired. You must change it now!” Temporarily frozen at my keyboard, my mind is churning to think up a new password that I have a decent chance of remembering. Should I tweak the old password by a digit or create a new one? Luckily NIST has phased out the requirement to regularly change passwords. But every website seems to require a password. I have about 200 passwords to manage, what a pain! I can’t begin to remember them all. Most people create a spreadsheet or write them in a notebook.
When people have lots of passwords, they tend to reuse them or choose weak ones which are very dangerous. We have seen that when a PC is hacked, cybercriminals know how to gather account information and passwords to exploit everything they can as fast as possible. Common or weak passwords allow faster harvesting of your identity and funds!
How to securely deal with the ever-increasing number of passwords? Get a password manager app! A password manager encrypts your passwords and stores them in a virtual “vault”. It can be added to your browsers to automatically load and record accounts, user names and passwords. Then you can use complex passwords, without having to remember or record them. Most apps will even generate very complex passwords automatically if desired. All you have to do is remember ONE strong password to access your vault. Some apps can be accessed without passwords using biometric recognition or multi-factor authentication. Your vault can be accessed from multiple devices including smart phones. The good news is many good password apps are offered at no cost. We use LastPass, but here is a link to reviews of the best known password managers.
The one additional suggestion I will recommend is to make sure you can export your passwords out of the app in a human readable format and completely wipe the vault should you elect to change apps or no longer use one. A password app will make you and your data safer, and reduce the hassle of managing passwords! And we all need that!