Modern security advice tells us to use different passwords for different sites. But how do we keep track of so many passwords? A password manager makes this easy.
- [Instructor] Working with online services means keeping track of lots of different email addresses, user names and passwords. It can be tempting to use the same user name and password wherever you can to keep things simple. If you use the same password for different services, and your credentials are compromised or leaked from any of those sites that you use them on, someone would be able to access your other accounts, too, and if you share passwords for services with other people, you might be inadvertently giving them access to other parts of your online life, so it's recommended that you use a different strong password for each site, which sounds reasonable.
But in practice, it's often pretty difficult. To help manage this, we can use software called a password manager. In addition to storing passwords so you don't have to remember them, password managers can also fill in login forms on the web with your information automatically and they can store some other kinds of information, like notes, securely. I like to use the secure notes feature of my password manager to keep a record of my answers to security questions that some sites require, but I'll talk about that in a later episode. Many password managers can also generate passwords for you so you don't have to think up a new password whenever you sign up for a new service, or when the time comes to update an old password.
Usually, password manager software protects all of these passwords and other pieces of information with one master password, which is something you need to remember. The passwords are stored securely until you unlock them. There are a number of different tools for storing passwords including LastPass, KeePass, and my favorite, 1Password. In fact, we have a whole course focusing on 1Password here at LinkedIn Learning. Some password managers act as standalone applications, and some have a browser extension. Many web browsers even have a built-in password manager for website credentials.
Chrome, Firefox, and Safari are each able to store passwords once you create them, right from a website, and then give you that information back when it's needed for a login form. Many of the password manager applications and all of the browser-based ones offer the ability to synchronize your saved passwords to other computers where you've signed in. You can decide whether to enable this feature or not and if you have more than one computer, or a computer and a mobile device where you use passwords, it can be very helpful. As you can see, these tools make it much easier to work with strong passwords and reduce the burden of keeping separate passwords for different sites.
But not everyone is comfortable with storing their passwords electronically or syncing them to the cloud. If you're not comfortable using software to track your passwords, you can use a paper notebook to hold them, as long as you keep that notebook away from prying eyes. A software solution is generally much more secure, but some people aren't comfortable with using software password managers. Keep your notebook in a safe, or in a locking drawer in your desk. Don't use a sticky note or something that's easy to leave out or to lose, and make sure to leave space to write in a new password if you change a password, as you should every now and then.
It used to be common wisdom to never write down passwords, but that practice led to people making their passwords short or simple in order to better remember them, and in the modern world of the Internet, a simple or short password is not sufficient to protect an account. As I mentioned earlier, setting a strong password that's unique to each site you use is much more important. Using a different password for each site can be daunting, but with password management tools, we can make it a lot easier.