Passwords are a balancing act for anyone who uses the internet via their computer or phone. A complex password offers excellent security but is hard to remember. A simple password is easy to remember and easy to guess, leaving you vulnerable to cyber-attacks. The challenge of remembering passwords has many online users either reusing complex passwords, or using a range of simple, easy to remember passwords.
If you are using simple passwords across multiple sites, it is time to take action and follow our advice.
Password security tips
1. Do not reuse passwords
Reusing passwords across multiple sites or accounts is one of the riskiest things you can do. With many password leaks occurring, cybercriminals can gain access to your email address, usernames, and passwords. If one of your passwords is leaked, cybercriminals will attempt to use those credentials on other websites, exponentially increasing the risks and damages you might incur.
For example, if a cybercriminal guesses the password to your email account, they could log in to your online banking, PayPal, or Wise. If the password is different, the attacker could submit a ‘forgot password’ request, which will send a new password or link to your email, which they have accessed.
To prevent these scenarios, choose a new unique and complex password for each website. These will be almost impossible to guess or remember, so a password manager will be essential.
2. Avoid browser password managers
Browser password managers are not always very safe, with passwords potentially stored in an unencrypted form. A savvy cybercriminal will know how to access and view these unencrypted passwords.
A password manager overcomes this weakness, holding your passwords in an encrypted form and allowing you to use a generic master password.
3. Follow the advice from the National Cyber Security Council
The NCSC supports password managers, which bolster security further by recognising fake websites that could otherwise see you fall prey to a phishing attack.
The password manager can generate new passwords whenever you need them. They sync your passwords across all your devices and automatically paste the passwords into the relevant field when you visit the login page of a website or online account.
The best password managers to be using in 2022
User-friendly technology gives you the security you need and takes the hassle out of creating and remembering multiple complex passwords.
The best password managers include:
- Best overall – LastPass
- Best free option – Bitwarden
- Best multi-device platform – LogMeOnce
- Best for extra security – Dashlane