Password manager software is an inexpensive way
to secure all your passwords.
Our need for passwords to access everything in our
life has become pervasive. Every agency, every computer,
every credit card, every smartphone requires an
exponential explosion of letters, numbers, and symbols
to secure all information from hackers, whether it is
personal data or corporate information.
To complicate matters, it is no longer permissible (or
advisable) on many sites to use a simple password that
is easy to remember, such as a word or name. Instead you
must create a password with numbers, special characters,
upper and lower case letters, and a minimum length.
One study suggests the average individual has at least
25 Internet-accessible accounts with passwords, while
other sources suggest that number could be substantially
higher. Is it any wonder that most individuals
will, whenever possible, assign the same password to
as many accounts as they can? Hackers know this and
once they compromise one account, it often doesn’t
take long to gain access to your other accounts.
Use Different Passwords
The best means of protecting your personal information
is to use a different, unguessable password for every
account. Most password management software includes
the ability to generate passwords, and then store them
for you. The beauty of using a password manager is that
you only have to remember one password to access all
of the passwords you need to remember.
High-end password managers support multiple languages
and are able to tie in passwords with hundreds
of websites. Two-factor authentication is usually required
(and should be!) to protect data in the event someone
finds your password and logs in on your device or tries
to log in on a new device that is not registered.
Setting up a password management app generally
requires you to download and install the software and
add browser extensions for each browser you use. If
you use multiple devices, you will need to load the app
on each one. To set up an account, you will use your
email address and will need to come up with a master
password or passphrase (i.e., one long, hard-to-guess
password to rule them all).
One primary password gives you
access to all your passwords.
After creating the master password comes the arduous
task of entering data about the various accounts or sites
you need to access.
Some password managers will import your user names,
auto fill standard information, and pull passwords
from your existing browsers, although, if you haven’t
saved the passwords in the browser, the data will have
to be entered manually. The password manager will
typically assess the strength of your current password,
and prompt you to generate a new, stronger password
(typically at least 16 characters) for that site. Experts
also suggest that you revisit your security questions
and determine whether you want to change them as
an added security measure.
Don’t Forget Your Master Password
Unlike a typical website with a “forgot password?”
feature, the master password is often not recoverable
in that way. There are very few password manager
systems that provide a “hint” to enable you to try to
rebuild your password. For most, you will have to start
all over and rebuild the passwords for every site and
every account keystroke by keystroke. Commit your
master password to memory; do not click “remember
my password” for your master password; typing it
often will help you to remember it.
Most of the providers of password manager software
provide free trial subscriptions; several offer a limited
version of their software for free, with the ability to
upgrade for additional features and support for an
annual fee. Freebie options aside, password manager
services typically range in price from $20 to $60 annually.
In Case of Emergency …
If a person is incapacitated or dead it will be impossible
for someone else to access the accounts. It is important
to ensure that the software used provides the ability to
set up an emergency contact to inherit your passwords.
Some providers allow you to set a waiting period before
a trusted individual can access the codes so that the
accounts cannot be accessed while you are alive. If
someone tries to access your accounts, you will be
notified by email. Other providers allow you to designate
specific accounts, such as the business account,
that can be accessed by specific people, such as your
business partner, or to designate personal accounts
to a trusted relative or friend.
Large Benefit for Small Cost
Strong passwords are a necessity for everyone, and we
all tend to use passwords that are easy to crack; this
makes us easy targets for nefarious people looking to
steal our information, money or identities. Using a
password manager is an inexpensive way of ensuring
access to the ever-growing number of sites we must
access in our interconnected world while making it
difficult for anyone else to gain access to our personal
and financial information.
The information provided on this page is intended to provide general information. The information does not take into account your personal situation and is not intended to be used without consultation from accounting and financial professionals. Allan Madan and Madan Chartered Accountant will not be held liable for any problems that arise from the usage of the information provided on this page.