The buzz around the cybersecurity world has reached a fever pitch this year, with news of high-profile breaches making headlines on a seemingly daily basis. Yet, despite this ongoing cybersecurity-centric newscycle, many individuals are uncertain about the best ways to protect themselves or are simply too skeptical of the security methods that exist to make themselves more secure. This is particularly true when it comes to password manager use.
Interim Executive Director, National Cybersecurity Alliance
Having a strong password for each online account and using a password manager are proven commodities when it comes to helping individuals and businesses protect themselves against cyberthreats. Yet, according to data from this year’s NCA and CybSafe Oh Behave! Annual Cybersecurity Attitudes and Behaviors Report, less than half of individuals say they use long-strong passwords that are different for each of their online accounts either “always” or “very often.”
Moreover, only 12 percent say they use a password manager to remember their passwords, with most saying “writing them down” is their preferred method for keeping track. That’s far from secure, to say the least.
This begs the question: If password managers are such an effective tool in preventing cyber breaches, why are people still skeptical of them?
With that in mind, and given that the new year is quickly approaching, now is the time to draw attention to the benefits of password managers and to dispel myths surrounding them so that people can lead their safest possible digital lives heading into 2022.
Security, security, security
During the early 2010s, password managers suffered a few bad headlines related to their security. Which is likely why, according to the Oh Behave! report, 37 percent of people say their biggest barrier to using a password manager is their fear of entrusting all of their passwords to one management provider.
However, thanks to innovations in things like encryption and a greater understanding of the cybersecurity landscape and best practices — such as password length and multi-factor authentication — password managers are now among the safest tools individuals have at their disposal for securing their online activity.
Easier than you think
There is a perception that password managers are time-intensive to set up and maintain. However, this simply isn’t the case.
Password manager companies have come a long way in making their experiences streamlined and easy to use. For example, many password managers offer browser extensions that prompt users to input new passwords when signing-up with a new site, and can even autofill passwords when you visit familiar sites. Additionally, when setting up a new password, password managers offer the option to generate strong passwords themselves so you don’t have to.
Safe and secure
Password manager use is also suffering in the workplace world as individuals continue to avoid using the technology over concerns about how they may impact their productivity. Employees may be lulled into a false sense of security at work given the perception that their employer’s security will weed out any threats.
However, as remote work has come into vogue, devices — and the employee accounts on them — are now more susceptible to bad actors than ever. Fortunately, business accounts and device providers now come preloaded with password managers in many cases, which — much like in the personal world — are very easy to set up and maintain.
There is a common misperception among the public today that cybersecurity is too complex for them to tackle on their own. But nothing could be further from the truth. Many of the most effective tools and best practices for securing our cyber lives are incredibly simple and easy to use, and password managers are a leading example of one of these best practices.
Therefore, by setting up a password manager, individuals can immediately take back more control of their personal cybersecurity, and take a huge step along the path toward creating a more secure life. All it takes is a few minutes, and sometimes even seconds.