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What Are Password Managers And How To Use Them

During the last several years, cybersecurity has become a major issue for Internet users. Unfortunately, the lockdown worsened an already dire situation since most of us had to switch to working from home, but only a few know how to secure themselves online adequately.

Let’s take a look at the numbers. According to ZDNet gathered statistics, the number of unsecured remote connections to the Internet rose by 40%, these are personal computers used for work. Cybercriminals were fast to notice the change and aimed their attacks at unsecured home networks. 

Another issue is Covid-19 related schemes. For example, in March 2020, when most of the world’s population went into quarantine, Covid-19 related email scams increased by 667%. This is because people are more likely to click on an email or a link when it touches their health, and cybercriminals successfully exploit that.

Right now, it’s essential to understand that it’s the Internet users’ responsibility to protect their digital life. The Internet is becoming more secure, but it will be quite some time before you can browse worry-free.

One of the key issues is password management. Since a strong password in most cases is the first line (and in some cases the only line) of defence, it’s imperative to understand how to manage your passwords. And how can password managers help you with that. Let’s dive in.

Why password management is important

Compare the Internet of nowadays, with the one we had twenty years ago. Then, online financial transactions were a rarity, and there were only a few services that require passwords: email, online forums, and a chat platform. These days there are dozens of password-protected services, like Netflix, Steam, social networks, fitness apps, etc.

In other words, you have to remember many more passwords unless you’re using the same one, which is not safe. F5, an American automation company that also specializes in network security, reports that Credential Stuffing attacks have doubled from 2016 to 2020. These attacks rely on online user data leaks, primarily username, email, and password information. Then a cybercriminal tries the same combination on other services. For example, eBay experienced a massive data leak in 2014, and if you used the same username-password combination for Netflix, hackers can try and steal it.

Losing your Netflix account might be a minor issue, but imagine losing your Steam account with all the money spent there. Meanwhile, some people lost Instagram accounts with thousands of followers, which is devastating.

Luckily, cybersecurity specialists came up with Password managers to solve these problems, so let’s see how they work and how you can use them.

How to use password managers?

At first sight, password managers may look unnecessary and straightforward, but they are mandatory for online safety in reality. Good password managers have strong encryption protection, a password and username generator, an autofill feature, a data breach scanner, and more. Let’s take NordPass password manager as an example since it offers all of these features.

First of all, NordPass uses the XChaCha20 encryption algorithm, an innovative next-gen solution already used by Google and Cloudflare. In layman’s terms, the better the encryption algorithm, the harder it is for cybercriminals to crack the password. You can create up to 60 symbols long passwords with upper and lower case letters, symbols, and numbers, and encryption will encrypt it to an unreadable state.

It’s the most essential feature of any good password manager because it assures that your passwords won’t leak. Even if a hacker obtains your password in an encrypted form, it will be impossible for them to decipher it since, with current computational power, it would take hundreds of years.

Password and username generators and autofill features make your browsing experience a more comfortable one. You can create unique and complex passwords with one click, and you won’t have to type passwords by hand anymore. This allows you to have long passwords since rarely anyone has time to input 60 symbols password by hand.

Last but not least is a data-breach scanner. It will scan your vault passwords and known data leaks, such as “RockYou2021”, and alert you if your passwords have been leaked. In addition, it will help identify which passwords require immediate change, which ones are recommended for improvement, and which ones are reused more than once.

These features will improve your password security tremendously, and cyber criminals usually go for the easiest targets, so you won’t be considered a target on most occasions. Moreover, you’ll notice that browsing will become more comfortable and faster, and that’s why cybersecurity experts universally recommend password managers.