Written by Shackleton Technologies
Annoying, frustrating, complex – whatever you think of passwords, they are an essential aspect of personal and professional life. From the apps on your phone to the applications used at work, virtually everything is PIN or password protected.
If your passwords are exposed for any reason, hackers can take control of almost any system – or even steal your identity. Given that the potential impact of losing passwords is so severe, it is surprising that people don’t give them more care and attention.
One report published last year suggests that the average internet user has 150 different accounts and passwords that they have to remember. And this is expected to double to 300 by 2022.
In an ideal world, every single one of these passwords would be both complex and unique. But the reality is that very few people have the time or attention required to memorise 300 different logins, so we cheat and reuse passwords between websites and systems.
Reusing passwords does create a serious security issue. If hackers manage to get hold of that one password, they can also gain access to all of your accounts that use it. Losing the password to your BBC iPlayer account may be no big deal, but if the same credentials are used for the network at work, they can cause a huge amount of damage to the company.
There are techniques to create unique(ish) secure passwords, but eventually they too end up with duplicates. Instead, you will need to consider technical solutions that can create and remember passwords for you.
Password managers are the digital equivalent of a bank vault that stores your most sensitive login credentials. Applications like Passportal, Password Boss and Dashlane, store and encrypt passwords, keeping them safe from hackers.
Helpfully, these tools also suggest create long, complex passwords that cannot be easily guessed every time you create a new online account. As you log into a website, your password manager will provide the right password automatically.
Instead of trying to remember 150 different passwords, you only must remember one – that one used to secure access to your password manager. This is obviously much simpler, safer and more efficient because you can use unique, super-long, unmemorable passwords without fear of forgetting them.
For any small businesses running a corporate network, password managers should be of interest. Your users almost certainly reuse passwords between their personal and work accounts. If they lose a password at home, there’s a good chance hackers will be able to use the same details to break into your network.
Hackers love stealing passwords because it makes breaking into systems much easier. They will attack poorly protected websites and apps because they know with some degree of certainty that they will be able to reuse the stolen credentials on high-value targets.
Password managers provide an important layer of protection – and your business should seriously consider using one within network security and also software security. For more help and advice about password security and how to better protect your organisation, please get in touch.