Passwords are part of our online digital world and probably won’t be going away anytime soon. The list of passwords we each use grows almost daily and keeping them secure is critical. Widespread data breaches have now made managing passwords mandatory. Last year we offered a few tips for password management, but we wanted to see what is new in the world of password security.
Why you should care
Every platform you use including social media must be managed carefully. To underscore the importance of this point check out this little tidbit from DigitalTrends:
Most attackers don’t break passwords by going to Gmail or Facebook and making guesses; that’s slow, and most services block access after a few failed attempts. However, if attackers steal account data through a security hole, they can make thousands, millions, or even billions of guesses per second offline using their own computers.
If that sounds outlandish, consider that Stricture Consulting Group last year showed off a small computer cluster made from off-the-shelf components that could test as many as 350 billion passwords per second. Some password-cracking operations harness hundreds (or thousands) of computers via botnets or legitimate cloud-computing platforms, while others just use everyday PCs. They’re fast too.
By the way, that was 350 BILLION per second. Their speed and ability to match passwords is a bit mind boggling to the average person. But it’s reality. As we stated in our previous article, using a universal password for multiple platforms is extremely dangerous. But tracking multiple sets of credentials is a hassle too. Luckily, there’s an app for that.
Software to the rescue
The great news is that password management software is available in downloadable formats as well as apps for your mobile devices. A few popular programs are 1Password, RoboForm, Clipperz, Keeper, Msecure, Dashlane, Password Box, and LastPass. Features vary by program but most can remember your passwords, generate long challenging passwords, and automatically log you into sites once you enter a master password or PIN code. They are also capable of syncing activity across multiple devices like your desktop, smartphone and tablet through the cloud or wi-fi connection. Many of these programs offer a limited free version, paid licenses with more features and an enterprise version for business.
The bottom line: data breaches are becoming commonplace. Securing your passwords with a software tool is a simple and efficient way to improve the security of your online world.