What are password managers and how do they work?

AVAST CYBERHOOD WATCH TOOLKIT



A Password Manager is like a security guard and a nanny rolled into one. It helps prevent your passwords from being stolen by bad people and is able to remember important things like login credentials, credit card numbers and (yes, you guessed it) passwords in case you forget.


With a Password Manager, every account you add gets its own, unique, impossible-to-memorise password (remember the nanny) that’s stored within an encrypted vault, while all you need to remember is one master password (the security guard) to access it. This makes it much harder for hackers and their automated password-cracking techniques to figure out your credentials to important accounts, because your passwords are no longer common or predictable and you’re finally using a different password for all your online services. So, in the unlikely event your social media password was compromised, you can rest assured your email or mobile banking passwords are safe.


Fundamentally, a properly-built Password Manager offers you better security. Yes, all your eggs are in one basket, but it’s a hell of a basket. In the physical world we use bank vaults and safes to securely store our valuable possessions and money. They’re not impenetrable, and neither are Password Managers, but if your goal is to improve your online security and by doing so increase the attack cost for cybercriminals, they’re a worthwhile investment.


Password Managers


There are many well-respected Password Managers to choose from. Do your research before you buy one, and make sure they come with the following features:


TOP TIP

  1. Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) to prove your identity. Typically, MFA is categorized as “something you know” (such as a password), “something you have” (such as a security key), and “something you are” (such as your fingerprint). See Cyberhood Watch guide on MFA here)

  2. A secure password generator for those impossible-to-memorise passwords

  3. Automated password updates that alert you to websites that have been hacked

  4. Secure syncing. The ability to sync multiple passwords across multiple devices, such as a computer and mobile phone.

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