The volume of online activities, transactions and cloud based software applications has evolved and exploded in the last few years bringing with it a new challenge: managing passwords. It used to be pretty simple to keep track of the one password you used for the few places you needed to log into to pay a bill, check a balance or status and see what your friends were having for lunch. However the sheer number of sites that now require a login has created a complex landscape that we must manage and master just to survive.
Warning: don’t use one password for all sites
The days of having one password for everything you log into are following the same path as leg warmers, parachute pants and bag phones. Your best bet is to turn that habit into nostalgia immediately. Hackers are smart enough to figure out that we reuse our passwords for multiple site logins. Think for a moment about the damage a hacker could do once they unlock just one of your login password combinations. One brief visit to Facebook and they know where you live, work, shop, bank and play based on what you like and follow.
Warning: don’t get too comfortable
So you’ve been using the same password to access your bank account for a zillion years. Unfortunately, the longer you keep the same password the more likely that you will be hacked. Many online and cloud based software applications are moving to password expiration as an added level of security requiring that you change the password every few months. If this feature is not available, do yourself a favor and schedule time to change your passwords across all your most critical login sites once each quarter. Sites containing your business, customers or financial and personal information should be top priorities.
Warning: it’s only going to get worse
If the idea of keeping track of all these passwords and changes makes you dizzy don’t panic. But do not ignore the fact that managing your passwords has now become a serious and real task. The good news is that software gurus have developed password management tools to help you stay on top of the changes you’ll be making. PC Magazine wrote this helpful article comparing the new password management technology and the features they offer. The pricing ranges from a free level up to $30 per year which is a true bargain for keeping you organized and secure.
The bottom line: take your password management seriously. If you think managing this task is a pain just wait until some hacker discovers the password key to your online kingdom. Now that would be a real pain in the password.