They might be reading your emails, studying your shopping habits, or even using your computer as a spam machine to send male enhancement offers to unsuspecting third parties, and these are the mild scenarios. Cybercriminals can do serious damage to home and business computers, mobile devices, and servers. In the worst case scenarios, they can take down infrastructure at its core.
What can you, the average user, do to stop cybercriminals? Adopt a virtual watchdog? Send out some predator drones? Permanently cut your Internet connection and live out the rest of your days in an underground bunker? You could, but a more practical prevention method is to use a more secure password. The problem is that better passwords are often more difficult to remember. That is where a password manager can be a life saver (for your computer. You still need to eat your vegetables, exercise, and wear your seat belt).
A 2012 cybercrime study revealed that 46 percent of adult Internet users had fallen prey to cybercrimes in the past twelve months. As many as 40 percent do not use complex passwords or change their passwords routinely. Furthermore, despite all of the fancy online security technology at our disposal, the most common exploit that cybercriminals attack is a weak password.
Chances are you have probably already been told how to make a password more secure, especially if you work with computers in a professional environment. They told you not to use your birthday, your dog’s name, your favorite soap opera character, or any other ridiculously easy-to-guess passwords like “password”, “1234”, or “unlockme”. Despite these warnings, many of us still use weak passwords because strong ones are too hard to remember. 70 percent of us forgot at least one password just last month.
Password managers can help you keep track of all of those sites, whether for work or play, that require you to login. You can then make your password longer, more secure, and less like the code word you used to get into your childhood club house. Moreover, you can sync your passwords across multiple devices, such as laptops, tablets, and phones, so that you can easily and securely access your favorite accounts on the go.
The possible disadvantage of online password managers is that they are only as strong as the service that provides them. It does no good to have your passwords store in a single location if that location is not secure. If you do not trust any cloud services to hold your passwords, another alternative is to use an on-premise system or simply to store your passwords on a local encrypted storage device.
Cybercriminals are always thinking up new and creative ways to exploit innocent web users, but that is no reason to make it easy for them. Using a secure password generator to create your password and a password manager to store and access it when you need it may very well help you avoid becoming a statistic in the cybercriminal victim category. Make those criminals earn their spoils. Let them try for years to break into your password manager vault and crack your ironclad passwords.