Qwerty. Password123. 12345678. Bella1. GoLakers.
Do any of these sound familiar? If they do, then it's likely that you’ve used a weak password while creating a new account for some website before. You might be wondering why people tend to pick passwords like these. Well, frankly, the truth is that picking good passwords is hard. Remembering them is even harder. In fact,
- From January to March 2019, Microsoft discovered over 44 million cases of leaked, reused passwords from scanning leaked credential databases from a variety of sources
- During a study conducted by HYPR, 78% of participants had to reset a forgotten password in the past 90 days
- According to the 2022 Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report, 40-45% of breaches involved compromised, weak, and/or reused credentials
- According to the Gartner Group, 20% to 50% of all IT help desk tickets are related to password resets
How does a password manager help?
This is where password managers come in. A password manager is a tool that is used to securely store passwords, credit card numbers, PIN numbers, and other types of sensitive information. These passwords are in turn encrypted by a master password, one that should be complex enough so that no one can guess it.
And strong passwords matter—In a 2019 study by Google, it was found that people who reuse passwords across multiple accounts are 10 times more likely to be compromised.
As people continue to use more and more online services, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep track of all the different passwords required. Password reuse across multiple accounts can lead to serious security risks if one account is compromised, as hackers can potentially gain access to multiple accounts. A password manager allows users to generate and store strong, unique passwords for each account, reducing the risk of a security breach.
What do password managers actually do?
Password managers do a lot more than store a list of your passwords. Most password managers allow users to:
1. Share items with other users
Ever needed to share a password with a coworker over email or Slack? Or wanted to share your video streaming login with a spouse or roommate? Password managers allow you to share passwords in a secure manner so that only you and the recipient(s) will ever be able to view them.
2. Automatically save new credentials when creating a new account on a website
Have you ever registered for a service, only to immediately forget the password you entered a few minutes, or even seconds, later? We're human, it happens to all of us. Password managers can save these credentials upon registration, making those “Forgot Password” emails a thing of the past.
3. Access passwords across multiple devices
Need to login to your email on your laptop, smartphone, tablet, etc? Password managers make this easy by allowing you to securely view your password on all of your devices. Some password managers will even autofill credentials for you.
4. Identify passwords that have been reused or lack complexity
Been using the same password for your bank account, social media, and email? Password managers can alert you when you do, so you can keep your passwords unique.
5. Quickly generate strong and secure passwords
Know that password reuse is bad, but can’t come up with good passwords on your own? Password managers can instantly generate these for you! Instead of puzzling over a new password that you'll remember, you just have to click a button.
Password manager vs. frequent password rotation
In the past, many companies believed that frequent password rotation was more secure than using a password manager (remember when you had to change your work password every month? Ugh!) However, a study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) found that requiring users to change their passwords frequently can actually make their accounts less secure. This is because users tend to choose weaker passwords when they are forced to change them frequently. A password manager can help alleviate this problem by generating and remembering strong, unique passwords for each account.
Popular password managers
Ready to improve your password security? Here are a few of the most popular password managers available today:
- Free plan for personal use
- One-to-one sharing is very intuitive
- Can share items with other users for free
- Can generate multi-factor authentication codes for shared accounts at work
- Very clean interface and native desktop apps
- Can seamlessly access personal and business vaults simultaneously
- Can share items with anyone, even if they don't use 1Password
- Paid plans include a dark web monitoring and credit monitoring
- Can quickly change multiple old passwords at once
- Premium plan includes a bundled VPN service for extra privacy while using the internet
- Encrypted passwords are not stored by an external party
- Fully open source so you can review the security yourself
- Completely free
- Works on multiple platforms
In an era where our lives and businesses run on software and web services, it's crucial to take steps to protect ourselves—and using a password manager is one of the simplest first steps you can take. The above list is not exhaustive, but it includes some of the most popular password managers available in the market. Users should consider their personal needs and preferences before choosing a password manager that suits them best.
Already using a password manager for your business? Don't forget to mention it on your SafeBase Trust Center.