Password managers could be an answer to the growing fear of identity theft.
In general, consumers do a very poor job of creating secure passwords, whether it be for their bank information, credit cards, or even their email account. Most people use a password that is a memorable word and possibly a number or symbol. Hackers have now created tools that can break most passwords and gain access to a site in a matter of seconds.
In early January, a hacking tool called Idict proved it could break into many iCloud accounts in less than five seconds. This type of hacking tool has every word in the dictionary stored, and it tries all those words with and without numbers millions of times in a matter of seconds. This is known as a “brute force attack.”
Apple has since added safeguards to prevent this type of attack, but most other sites have not.
To defeat hackers, you should have a different strong password on each site you use, and it should be changed often. Passwords should have random upper and lower case letters as well as at least one number and symbol. If they are truly secure, you will probably not be able to remember many random passwords.
That is why you need a password manager.
A password manager remembers all the passwords for you. It sits on your computer and has a master password. When you visit a site a second time, it works with your browser to remember your password and automatically logs you in. It becomes a significant time saver in addition to the solid security it provides when you start using random passwords.
The best policy is to let the password manager generate a new random password for you. But if you insist on creating your own password, the programs will tell you how strong your password is.
LastPass, Dashlane and Qwertycards are some of the top password managers in a crowded field. LastPass and Dashlane are both free, but if you want them to sync your passwords between devices, you will pay $12 a year at LastPass and $40 a year at Dashlane. The main difference is that Dashlane can change all your passwords and generate new random passwords for all your accounts with one click, a feature that may be worth the extra money.
This article was written by Bill Hardekopf from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.