If you go to the website have I been pwned, you will likely find some startling news. The website lets you enter your email address and then shows you all the sites you have accounts on that have been hacked. In other words, your login details are likely on a bunch of different hackers’ databases for that site.
Problem is, most of us use the same passwords for most accounts. I found that I’d been compromised by Lookbook.nu, which I barely remember signing up on (but which I subsequently found to be very sartorially satisfying!). Yes, I used the old reliable password that I used to use for everything.
I learned a while ago not to use the same password more than once, but I understand if you do. Passwords need to be increasingly complex, and we create so many more accounts than we used to.
But it’s just not a safe practice.
This is just one of the reasons you need a password manager (here with some good reviews). Here are 3 more.
Generates your password
Many sites have password regulations that are important, but almost absurdly difficult to follow. You can’t have two recurring letters in a row, you need a special character, you need a capital letter, a number, and so on. Even then, your password won’t be the strongest it could be, because it was created by a human.
Password managers don’t just store passwords. They generate them too. This means that they’ll give you the strongest password possible, without you ever having to see or remember it.
Chances are that not only are you using variations of the same password but that your accounts have used the same password for years. Yes, your dear old dog’s name is easy to remember (and sentimental) but the longer you’ve had the same password, the more likely it is someone has stolen it. For this reason, it’s good practice to change your password relatively regularly.
Your password manager can do this for you, without the hassle and without you having to acquire a new dog as your inspiration.
This is something that’s annoying but really important. For your most sensitive accounts – banking, etc. – you should use multi-factor identification. This means that even if someone has your password when they try to log in it will ask you to verify your identity from your phone or email.
It’s not something you want to use for everything. Your Lookbook.nu account doesn’t need it unless you’re really serious about keeping your taste in fashion secret. But when it comes to the important stuff, like your email or bank accounts, it’s well worth the extra effort.
A good password manager will come with all these features, making it easy to keep your passwords safe. If it seems like overkill now, a future you in another timeline will be cursing itself for not having done it earlier!