Do you get a guilty little feeling inside each time you enter your password into an online service, the guilty feeling that comes with the knowledge that you're not supposed to use the same password for everything and yet you do? If you've gotten away with it for this long, count your blessings. But now you need to make a change, and here's why.
The next generation of computer processors is significantly more powerful than the generations of processors before. What this means for your computer security is that the raw computing muscle necessary to break passwords will be much greater. Breaking a password usually involves having a computer (or computers) try every possible combination of characters as fast as possible until it stumbles on the right one - an activity that can take years. In the past, hackers only focused on breaking passwords for large entities that were sitting on big databases of credit card numbers, social security numbers, and other goodies with significant street value. In the next few years, as it becomes easier to hack passwords, even bit players on the internet will be reasonable targets for a password hack. So you must be prepared.
You probably already know that a safe password is one that:
- Has 12 or more characters
- Includes uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters
- Is not used as a password on any other site or application
The big challenge with this is that it's impossible to remember just one of these passwords, let alone five, or ten, or dozens. And forget writing your passwords down. We can tell you stories of clients calling our marketing division (SupportWerx) in a panic asking for someone to help change all their passwords because they left their DayTimer with the passwords written down in a coffee shop.
The good news is that there's an easy solution. It's called Password Manager Software, and it will solve all your password security concerns for little-to-no money. The best password managers work across all your devices (phone, tablet, computer). You create one really super strong password that you can actually remember, and you use that password to log into your password manager. From that point on, your password manager software will handle all your logins for you. You don't have to remember the rest of the passwords.
Here is a terrific article from LifeHacker that compares the best password managers. A poll of our MentorWerx staff indicated that nearly all of us use LastPass, but we also have a few users of Dashlane and 1Password, and all of these programs get high marks from their users. With these easy-to-use, low cost tools available to you, there's no more excuse. Get your passwords into a password manager and be ready for the technology that's coming right around the corner.