Passwords are the keys that open the locks to our digital lives. Each website and device a person accesses requires a password in order to be secure, so it is very likely that a person may need many passwords. How does one manage a large number of passwords while keeping them secure? Here are a few tips on managing passwords securely:
1. Don’t EVER reuse a password.
Because so many passwords are needed it is tempting to reuse passwords for the sake of convenience. Reuse of passwords is an enormous security risk. If an attacker gains access to one password they also gain access to every other device or website where that password is used.
2. Use strong passwords.
Password strength is mostly determined by length. Although symbols and numbers add password strength, very long passwords containing less symbols and numbers are both stronger and very likely easier to remember.
3. Write down passwords in a secure location.
Writing down a password on a sticky note and attaching it to your monitor or putting it under your keyboard is a bad idea, but writing down a password and locking it in a secure filing cabinet is a good idea. You’re more likely to use a strong password if you know you can always look it up if you forget it.
4. Use a password manager
The best passwords are completely random strings of text that you don’t need to remember at all. The only way to use random passwords that you do not have to remember is by using a password manager. Password managers are a single point of failure for all of your passwords though, so they MUST be secure. My recommendation for a secure and easy to use password manager is LastPass, available for free at lastpass.com.
5. Use two-factor authentication
Even if you practice very careful password security, it is possible for a password to get loose. Phishing attacks, malware and other threats can compromise even a very strong password. Two-factor authentication can be a second line of defense in case of password compromise. One of the most popular two-factor authentication apps is Google Authenticator, available for iOS and Android.
Password security is one of the most important parts of Cyber Security. Securing your passwords and managing them properly with a password manager is one of the few things that can make your digital life both more convenient AND more secure.