- As long as they are required to log into websites and accounts, passwords will be vulnerable.
- You can help eliminate much of your password problem by taking a few simple steps.
- A password-less option, offered through some websites today, will become more common in the future and further enhance account security.
There’s one cybersecurity topic that many people are exhausted from hearing about it, and that is passwords. However, people frequently ask what they can do about the password problem, and it’s no wonder that internet security is more or less hopelessly broken.
Steps to Securing Your Passwords
We live in a world where password breaches, security breaches, and other types of cybersecurity threats are in the news daily. Unfortunately, it seems to never end. While cyberattacks remain a constant threat, there are steps you can take, even if they’re just small ones, that will improve your personal password situation.
Use a Password Manager
The first thing you should do to improve your password security, and the most critical step, is to start using a password manager. A password manager is an app that allows you to store your online account usernames, passwords, and other login information in one safe, secure location.
Password manager apps are not infallible, but a quality password manager from a reputable provider should be secure. While security breaches may occur, using a password manager will still get you to a better place than not using one or creating passwords that can be breached easily.
Using a password manager is much better than, for example, writing your passwords down on a list that you store underneath your keyboard or on Post-it notes that you stick on your monitor walls, desk, or other things.
A password manager is also better than using your kids’ names, pets, dates, and other things to create a password. The app can generate and remember strong passwords, enabling you to use complex and unique passwords for each of your online accounts without having to remember them all.
Your password manager can be configured to generate random passwords, so you won’t even know the password yourself. Once they are generated and stored in the password manager, you’ll never need to know them because your password manager will populate them automatically when required. In addition to generating and storing passwords, these applications can also offer storage for other often-used sensitive data such as credit card information, addresses, phone numbers, secure notes, and other sensitive data.
Password managers are usually easy to set up and can be configured on your desktop, laptop, and other mobile devices and then synced across those devices. The apps typically require users to generate and remember a “master” password to unlock and access information stored in their databases or require biometric data such as a facial scan or fingerprint for additional security.
Enable Two-Factor Authentication
The second most crucial step to take is to enable two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication is a security process that provides an additional layer of security. The process requires users to give two different authentication factors to verify themselves, making it more challenging for cybercriminals to gain access to their devices or online accounts.
One common example of two-factor authentication that most people are familiar with is using a password and a code sent to your smartphone to authenticate yourself. Even if your password is stolen, two-factor authentication ensures your security because your password alone is not enough to pass the authentication check. Two-factor authentication is an effective way to protect credentials from being used by hackers who steal a password database or use phishing campaigns to obtain user passwords.
Two-factor authentication is a step you should definitely focus on for any key websites that store financial information, such as banks or investment accounts. Yes, it can be a hassle to access accounts with two-factor authentication because it adds a step and makes the log in a little more tedious, but it creates a lot more security.
If you do both of these items, you can declare a very small victory on the path to making your password situation more manageable and secure.
A Password-Less Future
Security features such as two-factor authentication have greatly improved the security of personal data in recent years. Unfortunately, hackers still find ways to circumvent these extra security measures, and as long as passwords are required, they will be vulnerable. However, when we look forward to the future, with a little bit of optimism, we see a future where passwords will no longer be required.
Microsoft recently announced that users could now use a password-less option to access services, including Windows, Xbox, and Microsoft 365. Microsoft now lets you sign into accounts with its Microsoft Authenticator app, Windows Hello, a security key, or an SMS/e-mail verification code instead of a password.
At the moment, only a few websites have enabled a password-less login feature. However, it is one small step toward eliminating passwords in the future. While password-less logins will become more common in the future, you should use this feature today whenever you have the opportunity.
The way that these password-less logins work is you actually disable the password option on the website. Then when you log in using your username, the site will ask you for an authenticator code which is sent to your mobile device. You then enter the authenticator code, and the site logs you in with no password ever required.
The other area where we are already seeing some hope for a password-less future is biometrics. So, for example, using a fingerprint reader to log into specific items on your cell or using a facial scanner to do the same thing. In fact, certain laptops already have facial scanning enabled for logging in.
Staying Secure Today and in the Future
Passwords may seem like a cybersecurity topic that has been talked about enough, but it’s just as vital today as ever. Password breaches, security breaches, and other cybersecurity threats occur daily and are a constant threat. Therefore, any steps you take to enhance your security, such as improving your password situation, are a step in the right direction.
A passwordless future is still a long way off. However, there is hope. Contact us today to learn more about how our team of experts can simplify your security.