The need for password managers at the enterprise and individual levels has grown significantly just from 2020. The pandemic sent millions of people home, and with that surge in remote work came a surge in cyber-crime. With so many unsecured remote desktops and companies troubleshooting the work from home model, hackers were keen to take advantage of the inevitable vulnerabilities such a sudden transition created.
Now, almost a year after the pandemic started and we closed down schools, businesses, and government offices, we’re starting to return (mostly) to normal. With vaccine rollouts, it’s only a matter of time before we return to as close to “normal” as we can get. But that doesn’t mean that cyber-crime has stopped.
The problem with cyber-crime and data breaches is that they’re so often linked to compromised passwords. In fact, it’s estimated that about 80% of data breaches are password-related. It’s never been more important to have a good password manager, and here’s why.
Cyber-crime hasn’t been stagnant over the last decade. The way that hackers access information has evolved to the point where even government databases aren’t safe from the clutches of a trained cybercriminal. One of the worst data breaches in US history occurred last year, with hackers compromising thousands of records in the Commerce and Treasury departments of the US government. If the government is at risk, how can businesses and individuals protect themselves?
The way hacker access information has evolved, but hasn’t really changed much. The attacks are simply becoming more sophisticated. Social engineering attacks are more lucrative than ever, tricking people into handing over vital information through carefully-crafted email ploys. Remember the Nigerian Prince scam of the early 2000s? This scam is considered a social engineering attack, and still brings in nearly $700,000 per year worldwide.
Social engineering attacks generally depend on the victim to hand over their information freely. There are entire scam businesses set up overseas that cheat people (especially the elderly) out of thousands of dollars every year.
Brute-force and other password attack methods have also become more sophisticated. With modern computers, some passwords can be hacked in as little as a few microseconds. According to https://howsecureismypassword.net/, the password “password1” can be hacked almost instantly by a sophisticated computer; and that’s one of the most widely used passwords on the planet!
A dictionary attack could easily guess this password and others, using sophisticated algorithms to run passwords against dictionary phrases and words. It’s generally advisable to not use anything you’d find in a dictionary in your passwords.
Password Managers Do Help
Contrary to popular belief, storing your passwords in a password manager is far safer than using sticky notes, Word documents, or other common methods. Your passwords exist in a “vault”, which stores everything securely behind one master password than only you know. You can also use MFA to further protect the account. Multi-factor authentication will ping you via email or text when someone attempts to login to your account.
Not to mention, password managers work on mobile and desktops/laptops, so they’re versatile. The best app for password management can secure every password on your phone and ensure that all of your apps are safe from intrusion.
Password managers offer another crucial feature for increasing password security: a secure password generator. If you’re unsure how to create good passwords, you can simply click a button, and your manager will generate a unique, secure password for you in seconds. This is great for people who don’t have the knowledge to create secure passwords or get into the habit of recycling passwords.
What’s a Good Password?
Good passwords are generally between 16-20 characters. They should include no self or company-identifying information. This includes:
- Names, including spouse, pet, or childrens’ names
- Phone numbers
- Company ID numbers
- Social security numbers
- Account numbers
- Important dates or birthdays
- Company names
A password should include a combination of upper and lower-case letters, numbers, symbols, and no common phrases or idioms. Don’t include any words you would find in a dictionary.
With so many password managers out there, it’s difficult to narrow it down to one service. The best password managers offer fully-encrypted vaults for storing passwords and important documents, and full customer support should you run into problems. Most enterprise password managers cost less than you might think, so if you’re looking to manage business passwords, there’s never been a better time to do so.
With so many versatile features, a low price tag, and ease of use, password managers are becoming one of the most important cybersecurity tools in business, government, and private internet users. Get yourself a password manager today and start securing your login information from those nosey hackers!