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The password is the main way we identify ourselves online. We need these to access nearly every account and service we use. Hackers know this and often target this area. One way to minimize the chance of your accounts being hacked is by using different passwords for every account. However, the issue is that remembering them all isn’t always easy. A password management system can help, but what type of system is the best?
Below is a brief overview of the four types of password management system you can use.
1. Cloud or Internet-based
These systems are usually cloud based and accessed through an app or browser plugin. Apps ordinarily store your passwords, or generate one to use, and will automatically apply this when you visit a site that requires a password. These systems are great for breaking the one password habit, However, because they store all of your passwords in one place, they could become a target for hackers.
2. Cloud or Internet-based with two-factor authentication
The next step up from the cloud-based password management system is one that supports two-factor authentication. Your passwords are still stored in the cloud, but you will need to provide another piece of information before you can access sites.
The interesting thing is that many of the cloud based password systems actually offer this in their premium offerings. So, not only do you get better password protection, but it’s with the same system meaning you likely won’t have to switch.
The cloud based systems are a good idea if you use more than one system on a regular basis and if you work from outside of the office.
Computer-based password management systems are similar to the cloud versions, only the passwords are stored on your computer, and accessed using a master password. Because many hackers usually don’t go after individual hard drives – they have to get through your network and then find the program and try to break the password – the chances of your passwords being exposed are minimized.
The only problem with systems like these is that you normally have to log in for the service to work. If you forget to log out and someone walks by, they will be able to access everything. However, for the manager who wants a secure system, this is a better option than the cloud based versions.
There are a number of USB devices that have a smart card in them that can store passwords. When you plug in the USB to your computer, the software on the USB can input the stored passwords when needed. These devices are typically more expensive, with some costing as much as USD$100, but they offer the highest amount of security as your passwords are kept with you.
The main downside to these devices is that they aren’t the biggest and are usually about the size of a standard USB stick. This means that they are easier to lose, making getting your passwords back even tougher.
If you are looking for a better way to keep track of your passwords, please contact us today to see how we can help.
Published on 30th May 2013 by Jeanne DeWitt.