Passwords are a set of strings provided by users at the authentication prompts of web accounts. Although passwords remain one of the most secure authentication methods available to date, they are subjected to many security threats when mishandled. The role of password management comes in handy there. Password management is a set of principles and best practices to be followed by users while storing and managing passwords in an efficient manner to secure passwords as much as they can to prevent unauthorized access.
What are the challenges in password management?
There are many challenges in securing passwords in this digital era. When the number of web services used by individuals increases year-over-year, the number of cybercrimes is also skyrocketing on the other end. Here are a few common threats to protecting our passwords:
- Login spoofing - Passwords are illegally collected through a fake login page by cybercriminals.
- Sniffing attack - Passwords are stolen using illegal network access and with tools like key loggers.
- Shoulder surfing attack - Stealing passwords when someone types them, at times using a micro-camera and gaining user data access.
- Brute force attack - Stealing passwords with the help of automated tools and gaining access to user data.
- Data breach - Stealing login credentials and other confidential data directly from the website database.
All of these threats create an opportunity for attackers to steal user passwords and enjoy unlimited access benefits. Let's take a look at how individuals and businesses typically manage their passwords.
Traditional methods of password management
- Writing down passwords on sticky notes, post-its, etc.
- Sharing them via spreadsheets, email, telephone, etc.
- Using simple and easy to guess passwords
- Reusing them for all web applications
- Often forgetting passwords and seeking the help of the 'Forgot Password' option
While hackers are equipped with advanced tools and attacks, individuals and businesses still rely on password management methods. This raises the need for the best password management practices to curb security threats.
How to manage passwords
- Use strong and unique passwords for all websites and applications
- Reset passwords at regular intervals
- Configure two-factor authentication for all accounts
- Securely share passwords with friends, family, and colleagues
- Store all enterprise passwords in one place and enforce secure password policies within the business environment
- Periodically review the violations and take necessary actions.