Keeping Your Passwords Safe

Judith Guertin Posted in Getting Organized

Is a Password Managers

Keeping Your Passwords Safe

Here is a question for you. How many passwords do you currently have? How many passwords have you saved in each of your browsers? Where else do you store your passwords? Research shows, on average, people have 80-100 passwords. One password manager software website estimates we have 192 each. After seeing that, I checked my account, thinking there was no way I had that many. Well, guess what, I have 199 distinct passwords. I could never, EVER remember that many passwords. Could you?

Though it is tempting, do not reuse passwords and do not use any of the top 20 passwords found on the Dark Net in 2020

Here they are, if you are using any of these, change them immediately!!!

  1. 123456
  2. password
  3. 12345678
  4. 12341234
  5. 1asdasdasdasd
  6. Qwerty123
  7. Password1
  8. 123456789
  9. Qwerty1
  10. :12345678secret
  11. Abc123
  12. 111111
  13. stratfor
  14. lemonfish
  15. sunshine
  16. 123123123
  17. 1234567890
  18. Password123
  19. 123123
  20. 1234567

Why should you consider a password manager?

Three things come to mind immediately.
You want:

  1. Your data to be safe
  2. Want access from anywhere
  3. Someone you designate to have access if you become incapacitated.

Secure Passwords have a combination of upper and lower case letters along with numbers and special characters. Password manager software can auto generate these for you and store them securely. In addition, add two-factor authentication to your login to the Password Manager for yet another layer of security.

Now, I know some of you think you could never trust a password manager to keep your passwords, but read on and see if you change your mind.
In my 20 years of organizing, I have seen many systems for managing passwords. Some are paper based and some are digital, and few if any include security features. Here is the bottom line. You need your passwords to be secure; you need to have them available at a moment's notice; you need to have them available to your loved one’s if anything should happen to you.

Paper based tools are popular, but do you carry them everywhere you go so you have your passwords when you need them? How do you keep them secure? What about if you leave the country? Do you take them with you? What if you lose the book or your password document, or someone steals the document? What would happen to them if there were a fire, flood hurricane, or tornado? How do you even know where to begin to recover from this loss?

What about recipes for your passwords? If you think creating a recipe for passwords is a good way to go, for example: MY_PW-is*XX and add it to every company you do business with i.e. Facebook would be: FBMY_PW-is*XX. Twitter would be: TWMY_PW-is*XX. And LinkedIn would be: LIMY_PW-is*XX. This is a horrible idea. These are usually simple enough for hackers to overcome if you use the same base text in every password. If this is your system, time to update those passwords, NOW.

Using a Password Manager is far superior to using your browser to save your passwords or a list under your keyboard, a book by your computer, in your phone contacts, in a word document or spreadsheet without password protection or encryption, or some other online software tool without encryption.

The best known Password Manager programs like LastPass and 1Password use strong encryption for your saving your passwords to a vault. They use the AES-256 Standard. AES-256 stands for Advanced Encryption Standard. This 256-bit exponent provides a vast number of possible encryptions used by institutions to code your data. The indescribable number of encryption combinations is what a hacker would need to go through in order to crack the code.

256-AES encryption is the gold standard of encryption. NASA, Microsoft, Google Drive, Dropbox, and AWS (Amazon Web Services) all use 256-AES. It is also used to encrypt sensitive data owned by the government and your banks.

Using a password manager, there is only ONE password you need to remember. If you lose it, IT CANNOT BE RECOVERED. The password manager company has NO WAY to access your vault. It is encrypted and you need the password to access it.

Remember, you are using a password, because you have something important to protect. I know in life nothing is foolproof, but it is important to be as secure as possible. Don't be afraid, it will be too difficult.

As a former victim of identity theft, I can tell you, it is much easier to get a password manager now than to recover from identity theft later!
Be safe out there!

If you have questions, or want to chat about Password Managers and how to choose the perfect one for you click here to grab a spot on my calendar!