How to Secure Your Passwords – The Ultimate Guide

How many passwords do you know? How many passwords do you remember in your head? What do you use to store them with? Where do you store them? How do you keep them secure?

There are many things to consider when you are dealing with passwords.

With online compromises on the rise, you should seriously consider securing your passwords.

If you have a job, you have a login and password to access your online account. If you have a mortgage to pay for your home, you have an account to log in to a site.

You have an account for your email, your Instagram account, your Twitter account, the list goes on and on.

Without a way to keep track of all your passwords, managing these passwords can be a nightmare.

You may be tempted to make it easy to remember, but if you do that, you make it easier for hackers to steal your password.

Consider what you are protecting with your username and password. It may be your bank account or access to your personal email or photos.

You don’t them to be available to anonymous users on the Internet.

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What is a password manager?

A password manager is an app for your laptop, phone, tablet, and any web browser you may use. With a click of a button, it encrypts and decrypts your username and password for you.

You can use it to autofill your login information when you log in to your bank site. It makes it very convenient to use if you use a random password that is autogenerated by the password manager.

What to consider when making a strong random password:

  • Make a password that is at least 12 characters.
  • Don’t use your personal information such as your pet name, Social Security Number or birth date.
  • Don’t reuse existing passwords.
  • Use capital letters, numbers and symbols in your password.
  • Change your password every year or more often if possible.

With a password manager, you just need to remember one master password to get access to all your passwords.

Make sure to follow the guidelines above when you create your master password. You don’t want to protect your other passwords but make it very easy for anyone to compromise your master password.

Use a DIY password manager

Using your own password manager is a possibility but watch out for the headaches. You can store it in a file and encrypt it manually.

If you do that, how do you plan to make it available on your phone?

If you make it too difficult to use, most likely you will compromise the security by storing an unencrypted text file so you can easily access it. Once you do that, you have open yourself up for exposure to hackers who can steal your passwords and gain access to your accounts.

Some features of a password manager to consider:

  • Only gives you access to your passwords.
  • Securely remembers all your passwords.
  • Provides a password generator to create strong passwords.
  • Save notes to store security questions.
  • Provides browser plugin to support autofill so you don’t need to type the password.

Best password manager

If you use a password manager, make sure it is reputable, reliable and offers support. We recommend LastPass since it has the features mentioned above.

There is a free version you can use and try it out for yourself. Other password managers only give you a 30 day trial.

With Lastpass, you can use the free version forever if you like. You make want to upgrade to the family version if you want to share your password with other members of your family.

Within your organization, if you don’t have your own password manager, they offer the business plan that you can use to store passwords for users in your organization. They offer different plans depending on the feature set.

What about Multi-factor Authentication?

With Multi-factor authentication, you are granted access only if you provide something you know (username and password) and something you possess (one-time verification code).

Using Multi-factor authentication provides another layer of security. Even if a perpetrator has your username and password, they would need access to the one-time verification code. Usually the one-time verification code is generated by an app you have installed on your smart phone.

Lastpass supports multi-factor authentication which is essential for a password manager.

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