Do you have texts like “123456789”, “password”, or “abc123” set up as passwords for your account?
If you do, don’t worry, you are not the only one with such a password.
“123456”, “123456789”, and “password” top the chart of most frequently used passwords. This means that millions of people from all around the world still use these passwords.
Do you know what the worst part of having such “weak” passwords is?
Well, hackers already know how to break these frequently used “weak” passwords, and thus if your account is somehow subjected to a cyber attack, then it will take them less than a second to gain access to your account.
What Are Strong Passwords and Why Don’t We Use Them?
Password texts that are easy to guess from a security standpoint are called “weak” passwords.
“Strong” passwords, on the other hand, are complex texts that are usually a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters.
Most services and websites encrypt the actual password string before storing it in their database. Having a complex, a.k.a, a strong password means decrypting the actual password text from the encrypted data is quite challenging for hackers.
We all know that strong passwords are the first line of defense for our accounts, then why aren’t all our passwords complex?
Complex passwords work great against cyber attacks but are usually difficult to remember. Especially considering that there are lots of accounts that we use daily in our work and personal lives, creating complex passwords for each account and remembering them is close to impossible.
This is the reason we keep passwords that are simple and easy to remember. Also, we tend to reuse them across multiple accounts to don’t forget our passwords regularly.
But, what if I told you that there is an easy way to create strong unbreakable passwords and use them at all times without having to memorize each password?
Well, this is how password managers can be of help to you.
What is a Password Manager?
Password management systems, a.k.a password managers, are software tools that let you create complex passwords and store them safely.
The software generates truly random passwords that are lengthy and combines letters, numbers, and allowed special characters. Also, the generated passwords will neither be related to each other nor have easily traceable information either. In other words, they are completely randomized.
Also, the generated passwords will be stored within a master account of your password manager. So, you have to remember a single password to the master account of your password manager, and all the other passwords can be accessed from within the account.
Top Password Manager Features That Keep Your Accounts Safe
Password managers help create complex passwords and store them and provide other features that help keep your account safe from cyber threats and attackers.
Below are some of the top features you need to look out for while picking a password manager in 2021 and beyond.
Zero-Knowledge Proof Authentication
The “Zero-Knowledge Proof” protocol is an authentication mechanism used in cryptography. In this method, the party trying to access the system needs to convince the other party that they’re the true account holder without explicitly communicating the password.
Zero-knowledge proof is one of the must-have features for password managers, as the complete details of the password manager account are secured using a master password.
Therefore, as the actual master password isn’t shared during authentication, the password manager account remains safe from man-in-the-middle attacks.
Cloud storage is an essential aspect for modern password managers. Storing the user password data in the cloud makes it easier to sync the latest changes within the password manager account across all the devices.
Moreover, the data stored in the cloud makes it easier for users to access their accounts from anywhere across all the devices.
Support for Various Operating Systems & Web Browsers
As end-users, we will need to access our account passwords across the various device(s) that we use. Therefore, an ideal password manager must allow users to access their accounts across all the devices they own.
Modern password managers must offer their service as a web application, mobile application, web browser extension, etc., to make it easier for the end-users.
Password History Log
If multiple users are using a single password manager account, especially in businesses, it is essential to track the password manager account usage.
To accommodate this feature, some password management services provide a history log with all the information related to when a password was shared, modified, updated, etc.
Secure Password Sharing
There might be times when passwords need to be shared among family members or teammates. In such scenarios, password managers must also provide an efficient mechanism to do so.
The ability to assign permission is one feature that can ensure efficient password sharing. By assigning permissions, you can set whether the other party can only view the passwords or edit them as well.
Moreover, the passwords can only be shared among existing users of the password manager tool. This way, the identity of the party to whom the passwords are shared can be verified.
How to Pick a Password Manager That Suits You Best?
In this article, we have mentioned some essential password manager features that help you keep your account safe in personal and official use scenarios.
Many password management systems offer some or all of the features mentioned in this article, and maybe even more.
The number of features must not be your only consideration while picking a password manager.
Always have a clear idea about your requirements in a password manager and pick one that best fits your needs. Moreover, make sure to research existing user reviews through online forums and websites to know about the long-term experience using the password manager of your choice.
Finally, it is also ideal for picking a password manager service with a well-explained set of tutorials on using the password manager in the best way possible.