People had Yahoo and Hotmail account during the initial days of the early 2000’s when people were exposed to Internet. Very few number of people used any sort of password manager. Except the business users and employees. Why would they (consumers like you and me) need it anyway?
Assuming they did need it, was there even the required visibility or awareness for it? There was, but maybe not enough. The number of online accounts people like you and me had back then, we could probably count it on our fingers. But is that even remotely possible today? We all know the answer.
Do you wish to take a wild guess on number of online accounts an average internet user has today? 90! Yes, you read it right. It was recently published by Dashlane. If you spend some time thinking about it, you would realize it is not as far fetched as it seems.
This number comprises of all kinds of online accounts ranging from social media, online banking, e-commerce, music and movies subscription, enterprise accounts & online stores (Apple iTunes, Microsoft Store, Google Play Store and so on), Mobile applications, email accounts and so many more. It really is a huge list if you delve into it. You have a look at this long list of yours and you come to a realization that the number really is not that far fetched.
The immediate next question coming to your mind would likely be, how do we even manage to remember passwords for these many account. Besides passwords, let us also take into consideration the fact that you may have a different usernames for different accounts. Your online banking account may have numeric or alpha numeric username instead of the typical “first name.last name” kind of username. But that really is not the problem at hand. Well, perhaps it is but not the biggest of problem. The main concern is the password used.
Quite a lot of people store passwords within the browser. Personally, I have never found it safe. Besides the techniques the intruders use to exploit browser security loopholes, there is another really easy way using nothing but means of social engineering. An ill intentioned friend can very easily work their way through all the passwords stored in the browser once they have access to your system. If your system is not password protected, the intruder can just click on show passwords and have access to all your online accounts (If the system is password protected, browser may ask for password). You cannot use your browsers built-in password managers as your primary service. It is not safe.
Another recent study revealed that a shocking 83% of people use the same password for more than one account. The reason is the same as you must have guessed, easy to remember, removes any confusion. The users ignorance is cybercrime’s delight. All they need to do is crack just one of those 90 or more websites where the user holds an account, or crack the user’s password. And it would not matter as to how strong security measures all the other websites have as long as the hacker has the password.
This is where the Password Managers step in. Password managers are advanced password management tools. They don’t just store your password, they can help generate strong passwords too which you don’t really have to remember. All you need to remember is one password to access the password manager. They call it Master Password for a reason. You can have 100 different passwords for 100 different accounts and you can still afford to not to remember even 1 from that list as long as you remember the master password.
Using the latest anti-virus does not make you 100% secure (It secures your system and not your online accounts), and neither does a secure password. There will always be loopholes and can trust that the intruders will eventually find them. However, a combination of a strong anti-virus preventing someone to access your system and a secure password, will most certainly make their jobs extremely difficult. When you live your life in a digital age, leniency in terms of security is not a luxury you can afford.
If you would like to get started with using a password manager but don’t know how or where to begin, check this list of password managers to help you get started.