If the story of the Forty Thieves and their treasure had taken place today, the ending might have been quite different – if only those thieves thought to use a password manager. Instead of opening to the old command ‘Open Sesame!’, the treasure trove would have remained closed and secure under an updated password.
These days, it seems we need passwords to access everything, from our bank accounts to our medical records. The average person has dozens of passwords linked to contacts across multiple platforms on different devices. If you are already using a password manager to keep all of your precious data safe, you might think you are invulnerable to cyber-attacks. Did you know, though, that you are still vulnerable if any of your contacts get hacked? Hackers can sneak through that gap and invade your digital world.
When I talk about ‘devices’, I mean any computer, tablet, mobile, broadband router or smart device connected to the Internet either directly or through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. ‘Smart devices’ could include a vast range of household items, from washing machines and kettles to children’s toys. (I will talk more about smart devices or the Internet of Things [IoT] in a later article.)
Over the decades I have spent as a cyber security specialist, I have seen every possible way of storing passwords. From the old school method of writing them in a book or Post-It note, to keeping them virtually in a Word or Excel document or right through to using specialist apps, everyone has their own preference. If you are using any method other than a password manager, though, you are leaving yourself open to attack.
Password managers are like small, secure rooms with shelves filled with boxes, each one containing a password such as banking, supermarket or Amazon. The door into the room is kept sealed with a single master password, which then gives you access to all the others without having to remember them individually.
It is your responsibility to make sure that the door to your digital life is not only firmly closed, but locked. If you are still not using a password manager, here are ten good reasons why you should be.
Use your password manager to create a secure password with a minimum of 12 characters.
These characters must include usually uppercase, lowercase, numbers and symbols for the best level of security.
You can use this link to check how strong your passwords are and how long it would take to crack them – the results may surprise you!
https://howsecureismypassword.net/ Sponsored by Dashlane
Can your passwords be hacked in fractions of a second OR will it take thousands of years?
As the technology generation, we are used to lots of choice. If you have bought insurance recently, you probably used a comparison site such as Go Compare, Confused.com or Compare the Market. As you probably know from experience, these sites all tend to give different results! You may not have thought that anything was more complicated than buying insurance, but just try looking for a password manager. There are 29 different software comparison sites, with ratings based on different factors such as reviews or testing – if you have a week or so to spare, go and have a trawl through!
As a cyber security expert, there are three names I am used to always seeing in the ‘top five’ lists. These are LastPass, 1Password and Dashlane.
Before you choose who to go with, remember it is important that you try and use the same password manager as family, friends and work colleagues as this means that you can share your login details easily without sharing passwords.
My personal preference is LastPass, which I use for collaborative password management with friends, family and teams,. I also manage most of my clients’ passwords for them using LastPass.
One useful feature is that it warns of duplicate password use, a major issue which can cost you thousands of pounds.
You can download LastPass for free, or upscale it for any size of organisation with the paid for version which costs very little.
You need to remember your master password, and don’t write it down or share it. Do, however, make sure that a trusted person can get access to it in the event of your death or total incapacity.
For help with security visit https://obtsynergy.com/