Managing Passwords doesn’t need to be stressful, trust me
Just sit back and let a password manager do the work for you.
I have been researching password security topics for a while now. Not only to write my ebook Is Password! your password? but because the subject mesmerizes me.
From conversations I have had with friends and family where they tell me that they reuse the same easy-to-remember password to all accounts; to people telling me they don’t trust password managers and prefer writing passwords on paper, I’ve heard it all. And I still can’t believe that in the hyper-connected world we live in, users don’t give password security the attention they should.
The fact that 65% of Americans don’t trust password managers or that only 22% of Americans use password managers is unbelievable to me. (source: passwordmanager.com)
So I decided to use my experience as someone who resisted password managers for a while but is now an avid user to show people that making the change is easy. And that once you start using a password manager, you won’t go back.
First, let’s check some numbers. The average user has around 70–100 passwords they use frequently. People handle many logins daily, from bank accounts to social media profiles, email accounts to online stores, fitness apps to local libraries, and medical websites, to name a few. And that is why users need more than their memories or pieces of paper to organize and store their credentials.
If you are worried about keeping your information safe, you must know that an easy-to-remember password won’t do the trick. And why is that? Because easy-to-remember passwords are easy to crack. And when it comes to keeping your credentials safe, you want something that will safeguard things for you and give your accounts the protection they deserve.
I will share an image I made for my ebook where I show how long it takes for a hacker to brute force passwords. Please look at it and check where you are on this scale. I hope you are not on the instantly, seconds, or minutes side of things. (Source: Hive Systems)
This information alone, about hackers being able to figure out easy passwords instantly if they try, should be enough to make you look at your passwords and how safe they are. But if you are still not convinced, I will get deeper into it.
Please take a look at this image:
Where are you in this scenario? And remember, multiple answers are allowed.
Do you use a password manager? If not, why is that? I will show you some standard answers and will debunk all of them.
1. You don’t trust password managers
I can sympathize with that. Understanding the concept of password managers and how they work is not that easy, especially if you are wary about them.
Putting it bluntly, password managers are encrypted digital vaults that generate and store strong and reliable passwords for you. They also keep much more than logins since you can store credit cards, bank accounts, passports, SSN cards, birth certificates, and anything important to you.
How do they keep your data safe? They use multiple layers of protection, the main one being encryption. And what does encryption do? It scrambles things around so that information is impossible to read. You type your info into your password manager, but they don’t have access to it since they only get encrypted data, not the real information. One more way to explain it, the industry standard is AES 256-bit, which is also used by the military. And if they use it and trust it, I’m sure we can trust it too.
You will not convince me that writing down passwords on a piece of paper and storing it in a drawer is safer than an encrypted vault. And as I say in my ebook, a piece of paper can easily be displaced. And it can also end up in the wrong hands.
2. You are not sure you need a password manager
As I mentioned before, the average user has about 70–100 passwords they use often. And there is also all the information you fill in online — name, address, birthday, SSN, driver’s license, credit cards, etc. So having a tool that helps you with passwords and stores your personal information is key to headache-free browsing/daily life.
Imagine if you had a tool that would fill in your information anytime you needed it, just like magic? That tool exists, and it is called a password manager. So trust me when I say you do need one.
Have you ever forgotten your password? Or thought you knew it just to get an alert that you typed the wrong password? That is frustrating. Or when you are creating a new account, and you type in your favorite password, but you get an alert saying, “this website requires 12 characters, upper case and lower case, two symbols, and two numbers minimum for your password.”
Out the window goes your go-to password, and you feel like your blood pressure is up the roof in sheer frustration. Well, a password manager can solve that.
3. You don’t know how a password manager works
That is A-OK. You need to get familiar with it and learn the ropes as you would do with anything new. But once you get the hang of it, you will never turn back. The first step is always the hardest since we often question our abilities to learn something new.
A while ago, we didn’t know how to use laptops, smartphones, smartwatches, and fancy doorbells connected to our phones. And we were intimidated by them at some point, but we learned our way, and I don’t see us going back to our old ways anytime soon. So you get where I’m going here.
4. You think that password managers cost too much
Good password managers have a cost. Like many other tools and software out there, there are free versions of password managers that you can use. But top versions with more advanced features have a subscription fee.
Think of it as an investment in your safety and making things easier for you in your daily routine. And always make sure to do your homework and research the tool you want to use. Keep in mind that free or cheaper isn’t always the best option.
5. You think setting up a password manager is challenging
Once again, as I said before, anything new will demand some time to get used to. Setting up a password manager is no different. But if you give it a try, you will see that it is way easier than you think. Once you start populating your password manager with your logins and personal info, and you can log into your accounts with only one or two clicks, you will never go back to your old ways.
I resisted using a password manager for the longest time, and my husband was the one convincing me to give it a try. So I understand the resistance. I would always say I didn’t need one or didn’t want to learn how to use one. But I can also tell you that once I gave in and started using a password manager, 1Password, in my case, I quickly understood the wonders of having all of my credentials safely stored and easily accessible. Logging into accounts, filling out forms, and finding personal information became easy.
Now that I’m a 1Password user, and because I see many people struggling to manage their passwords, I have decided to help people take the first step to start using a password manager. I wrote an ebook on password security and made a video tutorial explaining how to get started with 1Password. In both the ebook and the video, I show you the process, from downloading the app to installing it and the first steps. I made something that I wish I had seen when I started using a password manager.
I hope that I have convinced you that password managers are not as hard to use as you think. And that you can trust them with your credentials. Trust me on this one. Once you take the first step, you will never go back.