Password managers are applications/add-ons to your internet browser and standalone apps that allow you to save the different passwords that you use to log in at different websites. Are these tools important? They sure are, especially if you are in the web application development services field. Are they completely secure? Now that’s debatable.
Although password managers do come with their own set of problems, they do provide you with the capability of “remembering” strong passwords with relative ease, which is important in web application development and similar services. They might not be perfect, but they’re the best thing that you can get so far when it comes to online security.
Should you use a password manager? Yes, because even though they are not perfect, password managers do provide you with more than enough benefits to outweigh the possible issues that they have.
They Prevent Password Reuse
You should never use the same password in different platforms. If a hacker manages to get a hold of your password, he/she can log in into all your accounts; it’s like having the master key to all the doors of your home. If someone can use your password to get into your email, they can use it to reset the passwords to all your financial accounts and wipe them all out.
When you have a password manager, you can use different passwords for every one of your online accounts. And if you’re worried that the master password for the password manager gets leaked, you should not, because most of them require 2-factor authentication, meaning you must authenticate the login in another registered device, like your smartphone.
They Allow the Use of Very Unique Passwords
If you must use strong passwords on all your personal online accounts, it will be almost impossible to remember them all. Writing down strong passwords is not a good idea as you might misplace that all-important piece of paper, the best choice is to use a password manager as you can access it in all your devices.
Password managers do not simply store your passwords, they also encrypt your information. This makes it very difficult for hackers to get hold of your information as they will need to decrypt the data first.
They Prevent the Use of Poor Passwords
Having a password manager incentivizes you to use very strong passwords, mainly because you no longer need to remember each one of them. Not using password managers make people want to use weak passwords. Because they are afraid of getting locked out if they forget the uber strong password they used to register their accounts, people would settle for ones that are easy to remember.
You no longer need to use “password”, “qwerty”, “123456”, and other very weak passwords to make it easy for you (and hackers) to get into your accounts. You can provide really obscure passwords for each of your online accounts, and you don’t need to use memory tricks to remember each one. If you can’t remember your own passwords, then others won’t even have a chance of figuring it out.
They Provide More Security
Although some people do not trust password managers as they themselves have a password lock, the thing about password managers is that they use two-party authentication protocols. This means that even if a hacker manages to get the password for your password manager, he/she will still not be able to get hold of your passwords; unless the hacker also managed to snatch away the person’s phone.
They Store More than Just Passwords
Another reason why password managers are great is because they also store other bits of information, like the answers to your security questions. So, if you plan on changing your passwords, which is recommended that you do every month or so, the password manager can help you remember the answers to your security questions as well.
There are also some password managers that automatically log you into your account, so you don’t even need to do anything at all.
Disadvantage – Single Point of Failure
Now, the only real problem that you need to be wary of when using a password manager is that there is literally a single point of failure; you will not be able to access all your other passwords if you forget the master password. On the other hand, you will only need to make sure that you remember just one strong password instead of a dozen or so.