February 2016: In the ubiquitous world of passwords, password breaches and password management, one thing remains constant: passwords are annoying! But now they’re a little less annoying because you can reset hundreds of them at one time. You don’t even have to look at the passwords, much less remember them. A secure password manager does it all for you. For free.
Here’s why automatic reset is an improvement worth checking out and why life without a password manager is harder than it should be:
The innovation comes from Dashlane. The new Password Changer feature lets you select which of your accounts need new passwords and lets you click one button to change them all at once..
This comes in super handy when a company you’ve done business with was breached or if you never seem to get around to changing your passwords as often as you should. Which means it’s handy for pretty much everyone who uses passwords.
The only catch is Password Changer only works with participating companies — like Amazon.com, Facebook, Netflix, Cisco, VMware, Eventbrite, Yelp, Business Insider, Expedia, Groupon, Monster and TED. Hundreds of companies have joined in so far but you won’t be able to automatically change passwords for financial institutions and, at least for now, most smaller businesses like your doctor’s office.
You can still change those passwords easily using a password manager’s password generator feature or a free online generator like passwordgenerator.net, Norton’s password generator, the LastPass password generator — no account required.
If you’re new to password managers
Are you not using a password manager yet? Here’s why people love them. Password managers work with your browser or device, store your login credentials securely and enter them for you when you navigate to a site that requires a login. You can choose automatic login for some accounts, partial login for others and select from various options like multi-factor authentication and one-time passwords. The key to the entire system is a single master password that you create yourself that allows entry to your password vault. Your master password is like the combination to a bank vault — all the loot is stored behind that big, thick, ultra-secure door. But don’t forget your master password! Or you’re not getting in.
If you want to choose between password managers
There are plenty on the market, many of them free or with free versions. Here’s PC Mag’s roundup of the best free password managers for 2016 and TopTenReviews recommendations for ones you pay for. There’s overlap between the lists because some have both free and pay versions.
If you’re concerned that keeping all of your passwords in one place could be risky
Then you’re not alone — what if someone breaks into your vault? There’s a debate about this within the IT community, even though the process by which password managers protect and encrypt your master password doesn’t even allow the password manager to know what it is. Some argue that you’re less secure storing all of your passwords together and that password managers themselves are prime targets for hackers despite their many layers of security. After all, LastPass was breached in 2015 and some customer data was stolen (but not data from customers’ vaults).
Others say the likelihood of you following best practices, such as using different complex passwords for each of your accounts and changing them all regularly, is pretty unlikely. Very few people actually do this. So the vault route beats the common practices route. Leapfrog’s security experts recommend password vaults — until something better comes along.
If you think that using the same password for more than one account is OK
Then you’re kidding yourself. And you know it! Hacking has evolved from guy-in-the-basement approach to the super-sophisticated-automated-software approach. Today’s software can translate teeny bits of information about you into password-hacking magic that runs 24/7/365 and is, sadly, smarter than your single password.
If you think the companies you do business with don’t have 100% control of your data
Then you are correct. It’s impossible for companies to have 100% control of the data in the system — breaches happen. And when they do, stolen data quickly appears on the darknet for sale to the highest bidder.
So a tool that allows you to change most of your passwords with a single click is not just convenient, it’s smart!
The team at Leapfrog is completely dedicated to helping our clients keep their data private, and we’re always ready to discuss best practices that prevent data breaches in the first place.
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