Almost every famous tech company/brand you’re aware of has been affected by at least one cybersecurity attack and data breach within the last decade.

The list includes companies like Microsoft, Sony, Facebook, Google, Adobe Inc., LinkedIn, MySpace, Equifax, Yahoo, Nvidia, Cisco, VMware, Intel, AT&T, and many many more.

You can just read the Wikipedia page on the list of data breaches to have your jaw dropped.

In today’s world, where much of our personal and official data exist digitally, it is crucial to make sure that we have strong passwords set everywhere.

Why is it So Difficult to Create Unique Passwords?

Did you know that an average individual has about 100 passwords?

And did you know that “123456” is the most commonly used password out there?

Over 23 million people have “123456” set as their password.

Yes, modern encryption techniques ensure that your password is not stored as plain-text in the database. However, as a hacker, it is easier to target a large group of people and find vulnerable passwords.

Everyone knows about the importance of using strong passwords for our accounts. Then why do millions of people don’t give an eye to it?

To put things into perspective, as per data published by the Global Web Index in 2020, an average individual has profiles on at least 8 social media platforms.

The number is without taking into consideration the other personal and official logins a person might have.

So, simply put, there are many passwords that should be properly protected – a person should ensure they’re generated and stored securely for daily use.

Well, there are 26 alphabets, 10 numeric keys, and 33 symbols on a typical keyboard. Therefore, generating a combination of them to create unique and unbreakable passwords isn’t nuclear science.

But the real deal is in storing the passwords.

There are several ways to store passwords as well. You can save all the passwords on either one or many of your devices or choose to physically write them down on a sheet of paper and store it.

But, again, how safe are these forms of data storage?

All the questions and concerns about generating and storing a strong password lead to endless frustration.

Is there a way to avoid all this headache?

Yes, there is.

And they are called Password Managers!

What is a Password Manager?

Password Manager is a type of software that uses computer algorithms to create combinations of letters, numbers, and symbols to give strong password suggestions.

Not just that, password manager tools provide you with a personal account, where you can store all your passwords in encrypted form and auto-fill them while on the login screens.

How Does A Password Manager Account Work?

Once you create an account with a password manager software, the password that you set for the password manager account is called the “Master Password”.

Within your profile, you can choose to generate and store passwords for other online profiles.

Now, you might be thinking, “Aaha! How Innovative! Now hackers can just focus on a single password and gain access to all my other passwords!”

Well, No!

Did you notice that I used the term “Master Password” above?

It is different from your traditional passwords.

Usually, when you create a password for an account, the password itself is stored in the application’s database as either plain-text or in encrypted form.

Master Passwords don’t work that way.

The “Master Password” is an algorithm designed by software developer & security analyst Maarten Billemont.

While creating a Master Password, the password itself isn’t stored in the database. Instead, an encrypted combination of the actual password and other data such as the account’s username and a “safe key” designed by the application provider is stored.

Each time the user enters the actual username & password, the combination is recreated and verified with the stored data. Thus, providing a secure way to store passwords.

Not just that, several password manager software solutions also offer two-factor authentication as an additional layer of security over your account.

What to Know Before Using a Password Manager?

Is password manager software the holy grail of online account protection

Well, No!

A study conducted by the firm Independent Security Evaluators (ISE) back in 2019 revealed several flaws within popular password manager tools.

So, it’s NOT like “buy a password manager and stay safe forever!”.

However, there are several advantages of using a password manager software:

  • Create Strong Passwords:
    In most cases, when we try to create a strong password, there will be some sort of pattern in it. That’s just how we work!
    However, passwords generated by the password manager tools are a random combination of letters, numbers, and characters with no pattern.
  • Identify if Multiple Accounts Have Same Passwords:
    Most password manager tools will warn you if the same password is used across multiple accounts. Thus, making sure that all your passwords are unique.
  • Auto-Fill Passwords on Browsers, Mobile Devices, and Desktops:
    Again, most password managers have browser extensions as well as applications for desktop and mobile operating systems. So, you can easily use the stored passwords across all the devices you own.

Final Words

There is no doubt that having a unique and robust password set for your account is the best way to protect data from hackers and online fraudsters.

Using password manager software can ensure that all the passwords you use are distinct and unbreakable for common threats.

However, not all password managers are equally safe or protective. Therefore, before picking password manager software, make sure to research the tool’s features and disadvantages and select an option that works the best.