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Graphic of a Hand touching a Password Managers emblem, password management software

Passwords: The Great Digital Bane

Ah passwords. We love them. We HATE them. Unfortunately, they’re a necessary part of modern life. From banking to shopping to filing taxes and more, we do so much online these days. Each site that requires private/sensitive information needs a password. And if you want some degree of genuine security, simple passwords that include easy-to-remember words or phrases, birthdates or other personal information won’t cut it. While such passwords are convenient, they’re also a hacker’s dream. Effective, hack-resistant passwords require that certain rules be followed in creating them.

Ditch Those Password Blues

What if there was a way to create strong passwords you’re guaranteed to never forget—passwords that can be recalled in an instant every time you log into a site requiring personal info? What if you’d never again have to worry about clicking the “forgot password” or even the “forgot username” button? Sound too good to be true? Well, the password solution we’re talking about is available right now, and you can even get some versions of it for free: password management software.

What is Password Management Software?

image of a login screen, Password management softwarePassword managers store passwords and usernames in the program itself, linking those credentials to the associated site. As an example, suppose you have an account at live4shopping.com, with the associated username ThriftyShopper52 and the password Lz72><qw3!/. If you’re using a password manager, when you visit the login page for live4shopping.com and click your cursor into the username box, both the username and the password will be automatically filled in. You must be logged into your password manager program for this to work, but the process is fairly simple and convenient.

Password Management Software: The Features

With most password management software, you’ll no longer need to generate a password for every site where you need credentials. Generally speaking, these programs automatically generate strong passwords on their own. Best of all, many can be manually directed to instantly generate a new password for any given site or even for all of them at once with a few mouse clicks.

In addition to password generation and autofill functionality, many password managers offer additional features such as the storage of credit card numbers and other data. Keep in mind, though, depending on the password management software you choose and the version (free or paid), you may or may not get all the functionality mentioned here, or you may get features we haven’t touched on.

Password Managers Aren’t Fool Proof

Of course, you’re guaranteed to “never forget” a password with a password manager in the same way you’re guaranteed to never forget a phone number by saving it into your smartphone (how many phone numbers do any of us actually know by memory these days?). The software does the “remembering” for you and holding all that data means password managers aren’t without risk.

The password manager program itself requires a username and password to work. If an online thief hacks your password manager with all those stored credentials…well…that wouldn’t be good. The solution? If you use one of these programs (and there are many to choose from), you’ll need to create a strong password, obeying certain guidelines for good password creation and security (e.g., don’t share it with others, never write it down, etc.). You can find our suggestions for creating strong passwords by clicking here.

Additionally, password management programs work by either storing credentials locally on the user’s device or storing them in the cloud. Neither method is without vulnerabilities, as either can be hacked and the password management info compromised.

The good news is that, should your password manager be breached, it should be possible to automatically change all the credentials stored in the program. The trick, of course, to optimizing this backup feature is to detect the hack before too much damage is done with stolen credentials. Still, the benefits of password management software generally outweigh the risks.

Additionally, password management software can be reinforced with two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication generally involves the use of a code sent to a user’s mobile device or computer after log in with a password—which is “factor one” in the process. Even if a hacker compromises your password management program, two-factor authentication makes it virtually impossible for anyone except you to actually access your accounts. Yes, two-factor authentication is really that strong, and we highly recommend it for the strongest one-two punch possible against cybercrime.

Google Knows: Finding Password Management Software

At GVEC Internet, we don’t generally wade into the waters of product recommendation, and that policy applies to password management products or any other software type. However, if you’re looking for a feature-rich, cost-effective password management package, there are several available. Many of these—if not most or all—are discoverable through Google searches. Try typing “password manager” or “password management software” in the Google search box.

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