Our passwords are the simplest lock that separates our data and accounts from unauthorized persons. It is therefore always necessary to use strong and secure passwords that deny hackers and outsiders access to our accounts. Unfortunately, for many years we have developed bad habits in the use of passwords, which have now become a threat to our security. And that is why the kind of software that has become very popular lately: Password manager.
As its name suggests, Password Manager is a simple program whose main purpose is to keep all the passwords we use to register on websites (and other types of information) secure, so that they are always secure and accessible at all times.
This type of software uses a secure and encrypted database, protected by a master password. So, if we only remember this password, we have access to all our keys without having to remember them all. They also usually have very advanced algorithms that help us to generate secure pseudo-random passwords that we can use when registering on any website.
Practices to avoid when choosing a password
The worst practice we can apply today is undoubtedly the reuse of passwords. To do this, take the basic password and use it on all websites where we register. While we save ourselves the trouble of having to remember multiple passwords, all we do is if one of the sites compromises and exposes our password, we compromise the security of all other sites we use.
The use of easy-to-remember passwords is another widespread practice. These passwords, whether short or long, concern us in most cases, and anyone close to us who knows or examines us can easily recognize them. These passwords are very easy to remember, but this is not a security practice.
Finally, you often choose relatively short passwords, i.e. the minimum number of characters required. In this way, we can not only easily remember the password, but also integrate it into the network quickly and without any loss of time. A short password has weak hash encryption, and if the data is stolen, an attacker can easily crack the hash and access it.
If we combine the three practices mentioned above, we can imagine how much our security could be compromised.
Online Password Manager: Advantages and disadvantages
In recent years, password managers have become particularly important in the cloud. The most important feature of these managers is that we can use them from our own web browser or application and everything we do is downloaded directly to the cloud. So if we switch computers or use a mobile phone, our passwords will always be available and synchronized. It’s the most comfortable thing we can use, but it’s also the safest.
You’re giving the keys to your house to a stranger? Well, that’s exactly what we do when we use online password managers. They are still controlled by profitable companies, companies that are there to make money, and we really don’t know what they can do with our data. The server and clients are usually completely opaque, so that we do not know whether our data is stored securely or, for example, in text form.
Of course, these are the most convenient ones we can use, so passwords are always stored and synchronized. But they cannot be trusted, mainly due to a lack of transparency.
We find many password managers who are controlled by large companies and with whom we can store our passwords without complications. Two of the most popular are 1Password and LastPass. These two platforms, in exchange for a subscription, allow us to store all our passwords securely on our servers, so that we can always have them on all our devices.
In addition, there is another type of password manager in the cloud that we probably all use: the web browser . All browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Edge, etc.) have their own internal password manager. If we are not logged in, it acts as a local password manager, but if we are connected to a browser (and probably have one), our passwords are sent to the company’s servers, where they are stored securely and can be synchronized with all our computers and devices.
Local password manager: Advantages and disadvantages
In addition to online password managers, there are other similar programs that allow us to create a database of all our passwords so that we can store them securely. But unlike the previous ones, these password managers are designed to be managed independently of other companies or platforms. These are local password managers.
This type of program does not depend on the company that offers us this service (in exchange for a subscription), but allows us to create the database we need with the required security measures and store it on our hard drives. This way no one or nothing has access to the database and therefore no access to our login codes.
Of course, the local password managers are the most secure and personal we can find. Its reliability depends on us, not on a company that just wants to make money. However, it should be noted that they are generally the most uncomfortable to use. They generally do not have synchronization capabilities between services, and while their support is good, it is generally inferior to the cloud options. If we want our passwords to be on another computer or mobile phone, we have to copy the database manually every time we change them. Or depend on the cloud (such as Google Drive or OneDrive) to synchronize them. And in the latter case, we lose the main advantage of this kind of program.
Without a doubt, the best local password manager we can download and install on our computer is KeePass . This program is characterized by absolutely free and open software. Any user can access the code to easily consult or check it and make sure it is safe. And it can even help improve security or add new features to the program.
It will allow us to create secure databases that will allow us to securely store our passwords and other confidential information. It also has a large number of plug-ins that allow us to take advantage of additional features and capabilities, such as database synchronisation with the cloud for access from a mobile or other PC.
And if we want an alternative in the cloud, but we host ourselves and it’s open source, we can choose Bitwarden. This alternative is similar to LastPass or 1Password, which means that it gives us a website where we can create a secure database and synchronize everything in the cloud. The difference is that Bitwarden is completely free and open source software, unlike these others. In addition, we will need to set up our own server to host this software and we will be the only ones who have access to this software and all data.
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