PulseTechnologyBlog

Online Passwords: A Dangerous Convenience

Most of us have many online accounts. It’s how we access and pay our credit cards, do our banking, order goods and services and much more. Increasingly, online accounts are commonplace. And if you think about the sensitive information that is available online, it makes sense to be certain that this information is protected.

You may think you have it covered, because each online account is protected by password.

But…how protected are these accounts really?

Because most of us don’t want to be bothered physically keying in passwords each time we want to access or accounts (much less trying to remember them), we will opt for the ease of storing our passwords on a web browser. It’s easy for us because when we want to access the account, the browser will bring up the user name and password.

That system works well – until it doesn’t.

Many browsers simply aren’t all that safe. They can be easily hacked by experts. And if the computer (particularly a laptop) gets stolen or someone else has access to it, your information is vulnerable.

Add to that if you have a user password, it’s really the master key to your online accounts.

Given the increased sophistication of hackers, it is not advisable to use your web browser to store passwords.

To begin with, strong passwords will help in every situation. And use a different strong password for every site. Even if you don’t save passwords for the truly sensitive accounts, such as banks, if you use the same password that you use on a different account, a hacker may still be able to find it.

If you are looking for the non-technical solution, it can be as simple as writing out the passwords in a book or journal and storing the book in a safe – or some secure location.

But most of us prefer something a little more high-tech.

An improvement over using a web browser to store passwords is using a password manager, one that is independent from your browser, for added security. CyberNews recommends NordPass, Keeper and RoboForm as top independent password managers. CNET lists Bitwarden, LastPass and 1Password.Laptop recommends LastPass, 1Password and DashLane.

Additionally, consider adding a firewall and data encryption to all devices. These additional steps will help keep the hackers at bay. It is also advisable on all devices to add in two-factor authentication wherever you can.

If you need assistance in cleaning your computers from store passwords and auto-fills, like guidance on selecting a Password Manager, or help securing your infrastructure, get started on a Technology Assessment from one of Pulse Technology’s experienced team members.

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