Pros and Cons of Password Managers

Today’ cyber world is replete with passwords. The average person accesses, on a regular basis, a good number of password-protected websites. These websites range from banking sites to various social networks. In fact, many logins go unnoticed because most people who use internet browsers, mobile devices, and IoT (Internet of Things) devices have saved usernames and passwords.

The most prominent threat nowadays to people is password theft. The business world is very much concerned with password security because a single weak link can compromise sensitive business data and cause mayhem in a couple of hours. Hackers may steal private information, access customer accounts, social security numbers and financial records. In essence, they manage to do all these because of a weak password.

IT personnel who have acquired degrees in cybersecurity have good knowledge about password management.  They specialize in it in a corporate setting. It has become essential for lots of companies to use password managers. Password managers automate, protect and organize massive sets of login credentials.

Pros of Password Manager:

It is regrettable that most people use names of their spouse, children, pet’s names and birthdays or other easily guessable information in their passwords – and regrettably, not for a single website but all sites that require their login credentials. The reason is that memorizing and recalling many passwords is not an easy job especially when does not have a readily recallable reference.

Most Internet users started when the Internet was in its infancy. They are facing a challenging time trying to change their habits. Punam Keller, who is a consumer information-processing expert, wrote about the reasons why people cannot break the bad practice of using weak passwords, in her article titled “Why We Don’t Protect Our Passwords,” published in the Harvard Business Review.

She says that people do not know how easy it has become to hack a password. Those who know avoid it because they find it irritating. They procrastinate until something terrible occurs to them in the form of a compromised account.

Dashlane, LastPass, and IPassword are some examples of password managers. If you install any one of them on your mobile or integrate it into your browser, it will remember your passwords.

Tech writers, Joseph Cox and Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, explain in their article, “The Motherboard Guide To Not Getting Hacked” on Motherboard.vice.com that “[Password managers] are apps that keep track of passwords for you, automatically help you create good passwords, and simplify your life online. If you use a manager, all you have to remember is one password, the one that unlocks the vault of your passwords.”

Hackers can use combinations of information such as names, addresses, favorite movie, birthdays and favorite foods to generate every possible password. That is why the best password combination is the one that has no information associated with the user.

Most password managers have the option of generating your password along with password management.

An article published on NakedSecurity, titled “Why You Should Use A Password Manager,” says, “As services online proliferate, creating – let alone remembering – a unique password for every single one becomes practically impossible.”

The article further says, “Thankfully, password managers can step in and help here by generating unique passwords for you. A strong password should be of decent length, contain a good mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and unique characters. That means a good password could look something like this: Vp$lskFOyS4h^oql.”

Cons of a Password Manager:

There is a problem. When you are operating online on public Wi-Fi hotspots, hackers can infiltrate your password manager. It can be disastrous because all of your saved passwords would then be compromisable.

Minihhaita Bamburic reported in his recent article titled, “Password Managers May Not Be As Secure As You Think,” published on BetaNews.com that TeamSIK, an IT security company, ran a few security risks on several password managers.

He further reports, “TeamSIK found at least one vulnerability in each of the tested password managers, with Informaticore and Hide Pictures Keep Safe Vault scoring best in the regard. Avast Passwords had six vulnerabilities, followed by 1Password with five, Dashlane with four, LastPass and MyPasswords with three each, and Keeper with two.”

Password managers use one master password to encrypt all the other passwords. A master password, of course, is not easily guessable.  It automatically fills up login credentials after recognizing the website for which you have to put in username and password if you enter the master password on the device.

Fahmida Y. Rashid, an IT expert, writes in her article, “Keep Using Password Managers – Bugs And All,” published on inforworld.com. “There’s a regrettable tendency to conflate product safety and product security.”

She further says, “It’s important to find and fix vulnerabilities so that attackers can’t break in. It’s still far better to use password managers with bugs, which can be fixed, than to rely on memory or other methods to try to keep track of all passwords.”

Online Degree in Cyber Security through Maryville University

Maryville University offers an online cyber security degree. Course units include advanced training in digital forensics, current ethical hacking techniques, mobile security and malware analysis. Students can learn and practice these jobs in the virtual training lab of Maryville University. Students, after graduation, may qualify for high paying employment as security analysts, networking consultants, network architects or information security managers. World’s top tech companies have a high demand for these skills.

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