03 Aug 2017
If you haven't already got one, it's time to seriously consider a password manager.
These handy apps are designed to help you generate strong passwords, and protect, organize and store them in one safe and convenient location. There are a bunch out there to choose from such as 1Password, Dashlane and LastPass, and many are free for the basic service. “A password manager allows you to create much more robust and secure passwords with the convenience of remembering them for you,” says IT pro Richard Beers, from Nerds On Site. Not only will you end up with beefier passwords but you’ll also avoid another online danger—using the same one twice. “That’s a big no-no because if one gets hacked, they will try the same one on other sites,” he explains.
We asked Beers for his tips on choosing a password manager, the importance of a strong master password and more. Here’s what he had to say.
Make Security Your First Priority
“Look for a solution that has been tested and beaten on by third parties and fixed and made constantly better (read well-reviewed and given excellent marks for security by reputable sources or at least ones you know and trust),” says Beers.
Consider Your Needs
Convenience may play a distant second to security, but it’s important too so look for a manager that works across all your devices. “A solution that can work on more than one platform or device adds to your usage and enjoyment,” says Beers, noting that most good free password manager solutions include these now. Paid versions are an option for any additional features you want or need.
Make Your Master Password Long and Complex
One of the best parts of a manager is the need to remember just one password. The key? Make it long and complex. “The longer you make it, the harder it is to brute force guess your password, while the complexity makes rainbow tables (pre-computed lists of common hashes or passwords) or dictionary attacks much less useful,” says Beers. “If you’re completely against random gibberish, then go for something like a few words or a phrase that you can easily remember,” suggest Beers, adding you can change the order of the words to add complexity. For example, turn ‘smokeonthewater’ into ‘22222wateronthasmoke&&&&&’. “This way you have only to remember your phrase and your pattern of add-ons, rather than a complex string of randomness,” he says.
Richard Beers is part of the global Nerds on Site team, which offers tech support, service and consultation for computers, VoIP telephony and more. Learn more at nerdsonsite.com.