How not to get hacked – Password managers and why you need one

As a race, humans can be lazy. We’re also pretty demanding. We want all the things and we want them instantly.

I order my coffee on Skip, and do so when I’m about 5 minutes away from my fave coffee haunt, so it’s sitting on the counter waiting for me when I get there. On the odd occasion it’s not ready for me when I arrive, I start to get antsy and agitated. It’s not because I’m desperately in need of coffee (well…maybe a little bit), it’s because I hate waiting, and ordered my coffee online specifically so it would be ready the instant I wanted it.

​I used to happily order my coffee over the counter, pay with real money and wait for it. Now there’s apps for EVERYTHING and ANYTHING that will make our lives easier, and this technology has made us impatient.

We’ve all been in the situation where we’ve gone to log-in to a site, only for our screen to shout INCORRECT PASSWORD. You try a few variations, end up giving up and go through the process of re-setting your password. It’s annoying – ain’t no one got time for that multiple times per day – so when we read a recent report by Keeper Security stating that 80% of us reuse the same password across multiple accounts we weren’t surprised. It’s an alarming stat, (and as a tech company, hurts our soul) but it makes sense.
Unfortunately, passwords are the bane of online existence and this is exactly what hackers prey on.

Not only are we using the same password across multiple accounts, but a lot of us are using weak passwords (check out some doozies here). Hacked passwords cause a whopping 81% of data breaches (2017 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report) and if you use the same log-in info everywhere, a leak at one website could give malicious hackers access to all your accounts.

So how can we protect ourselves?
 
The answer is simple (but inconvenient). You need strong, unique passwords for each of your online accounts, otherwise you’re probably going to get hacked (or you already have been).
 
The good news is that seeing as though there are apps for EVERYTHING and ANYTHING, there is of course an app to help us create, manage and store the multitude of complex passwords we need to stay safe online. Introducing the password manager.
 
The password manager lives in your browser and acts a digital gatekeeper, generating secure, random passwords, remembering them and filling in your log-in info when you visit various sites. If you’re using a phone or other device you can copy-and-paste passwords from the password manager app to the service you’re trying to access. Simples. You just have to remember one (very secure) master password for the manager itself, and everything else is taken care of for you.

It’s pretty easy to get all your existing passwords into the password manager. Many of them have import features and will flag any weak or duplicate passwords and replace them with stronger ones. The most difficult part is choosing the right password manager for you.

We love trying out new tech, so when it comes to password managers we’ve done our homework. Our top picks are:
 
  • LastPass – a cloud-based password manager with extensions, mobile apps, and desktop apps for all the browsers and operating systems out there. It’s extremely powerful and even offers a variety of multi-factor authentication (which we suggest you enable).
  • 1Password – is another good choice. It’s a password manager, digital vault, form filler and secure digital wallet with apps for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS and includes multi-factor authentication (again, make sure you use this feature)!

Of course password managers aren’t a complete fail-safe from malicious activity, but they do go a long way in improving your security stance, while keeping your life simple. If you’d like to speak to one of our experts about password managers or other ways to ensure you stay as secure as possible, get in touch today.