You probably know that it’s not a good idea to use your “password” as a password, or your pet’s name or birthday. But the worst thing you can do with your passwords – and one thing more than 50% of people do, according to a recent Virginia Tech study – is reuse the same on multiple sites. If even one of these accounts is compromised in a data breach, it doesn’t matter how strong your password is – hackers can easily use it to access other accounts.

Why you need a password manager

A password manager is a secure, automated, completely digital replacement for the little notepad where you may have all your passwords written now, but it’s even more than that. Password managers generate powerful new passwords when you create accounts or change a password and store all your passwords – and in many cases your credit card numbers, addresses, bank accounts and other information – in one place, protecting them with a single strong master password. If you remember your primary password, the password manager will remember everything else by filling in your username and password for you whenever you log in to a site or application on your phone or computer.

You can generate, save and fill passwords automatically with Google Smart Lock (in Chrome and Android) or Apple Keychain (in Safari and iOS), but a good password manager goes much further – it can proactively alert you when you’re reusing a password or when your passwords are weak and easy to guess or hack, and some password managers will notify you even when your online accounts are hacked and your passwords have been exposed. For accounts you need to share with family members, friends, or coworkers – a shared bank or mortgage account, a shared Twitter account, or your insurance and medical records, for example – many password managers offer family that make it simple to share strong and complex passwords without requiring multiple people to remember or write them down.

Learning how to use a password manager seems intimidating, but once you start using one to create strong random passwords that you can’t remember, you’ll wonder how you lived without one. Improving digital security usually means making devices more annoying to use; a password manager is a rare opportunity to make you more secure and less annoyed.

A password manager for any budget

KosmikSystems’ favorite password manager is 1Password. It has great apps for PCs, Macs, and all sorts of tablets and phones, and those apps will tell you exactly what’s wrong with your passwords and how to fix them, whether they’re weak, reused, or even compromised. -a hack. If you don’t use two-factor authentication to protect your accounts already, 1Password can generate, store, and insert these codes when you need them. And the 1Password family plan allows you to easily share passwords for accounts you share with family members and friends (and keep their passwords safe).

If you can’t or don’t want to pay 150 RON per year for a 1Password subscription, you can also find free options. KosmikSystems’ favorite is LastPass Free – its applications are not as complete as 1Password and its password troubleshooting recommendations are not as clearly explained or as easy to operate, but it is still quite simple to use and works in continue almost any computer, tablet or phone.

These are not the only good password managers, but they are easy to learn, backed by good customer support, and designed to store your passwords securely. You don’t need to understand AES-256 hashing code or encryption, unless you know it means that even if 1Password or LastPass has broken servers, your passwords will remain unread to anyone who doesn’t have your primary password. Both 1Password and LastPass are transparent about their security processes and you can visit their sites to learn more.

Creating a good master password

Because the primary password is responsible for protecting all of your account information, you need to make it long and difficult to guess. But because you’ll need to enter it when you start using a new computer or phone, when you need to sign in to change a setting, or when you restart your computer or browser, it should be easy for you to remember;

KOSMIK Systems also offers you efficient and optimal solutions for cyber security that you may never have thought of. If you want to know more we invite you to CLICK HERE for more details and to show you how we can help you. No matter how memorable your primary password is, you should write it down and keep it somewhere to make sure you don’t forget it or lose it. The safest way to do this is to write it on a piece of real paper and keep it somewhere safe. Writing it the old-fashioned way is actually much more secure than digital storage, especially on a cloud syncing service such as Google Drive, Dropbox or iCloud.