What is Password Management?
Passwords are strings of characters used to verify the identity of a user in an authentication process. While passwords remain as one of the most secure methods of authentication available, they continue to remain vulnerable to security threats. Account management, authentication, and password management are essential activities to protect data security, but these tasks are unfortunately often deemed low priority and shuffled off to a pile of things to do… later. You will not have to search hard for reasons to move these activities up in your lists of things to do. Most users have numerous online accounts, and often users reuse passwords for the sake of convenience. One cybersecurity breach of an online account can easily compromise all of the accounts that have the same password, especially during this time of increased cyberattacks involving the disclosure of sensitive data, such as passwords, on the dark web. Besides the theft of login credentials and confidential data from a website database, there are several other password protection threats such as:
Brute force attacks. Using automated tools to gain access to user data in order to steal passwords.
Login spoofing. A fake login page allows cyberattackers to illegally collect passwords.
Shoulder surfing attacks. Using tools such as micro-cameras, passwords are stolen as users type them.
Sniffing attacks. Using tools such as key loggers, passwords are stolen through illegal network access.
Some best practices to protect against security threats include:
- Create strong and unique passwords for all websites, databases, and applications
- Regularly reset passwords
- Configure two-factor authentication for all accounts
- Only share passwords with friends, family, and colleagues using secure methods
- Store business passwords in a single secure location and adopt strong business password policies
A terrific solution for password management is to use password manager software, which makes it simple and easy to manage all of your online passwords1. Password manager software programs make it easier to save all of your logins, can assist in generating new, stronger passwords, and can store them in encrypted vaults. With hundreds of password managers on the market, there are many types with different features available. Some of the features available now include:
- Convenient dashboards
- Secure document storage
- Encryption of data besides passwords such as store credit card details, addresses, sensitive data, and notes
- Syncing between devices
- Multi-factor authentication
- Code generation by mobile app or finger scan
- Browser plugins for Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Opera, Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOs, and Android
- Family sharing
- Business options
- Protection from breaches, such as keyloggers and phishing attempts
- Coverage for both personal and business use, helpful for those working remotely
- Support for unlimited devices
- Warnings if any of your passwords appear in a data breach
- Secure record sharing
- Encrypted messaging tools
- Biometric options such as selfies, fingerprints, and face ID
- Local or online data storage options
- Sync with cloud or Dropbox
- Third party integrations with apps such as Gmail, Dropbox, and Microsoft 365
Consider your user activity or the activities of users in your organization, and you will likely find a password management solution that offers better protection than whatever you are (or are not) doing now.
1 Turner, 2021, “Best password manager of 2021”