1.4 Digital Privacy: Password Manager
Passwords. We all have them, use them, and need them to get around online. Our digital identities, and how we store information, are based on our ability to both associate with an account of some kind and prevent others from gaining access to said account. And they all require passwords.
My favorite privacy-focused password manager is 1Password, Read below to understand why I turned to it.
The problem with passwords is that they need to be long and complicated to be secure. We’re only human, and cursed with memories that make it nearly impossible to remember things like tLFXh9Nr*R-XVGH!LP93. Even if we could remember that one super random and complex password, it’s really only good for one account online. So if we had an email and a social media account, we’d need to remember two equally random and complex passwords…or more likely a few hundred of them (as we all have so many online accounts).
If we reuse passwords, they’re only as strong as the weakest website we use them on. If we use the same password for Gmail as we did on a certain hotel rewards website years ago the hotel has a data breach, then our Gmail password is no longer secure. There are reports of people having the passwords from old, useless accounts breached, and hackers gaining access to critical accounts like email, healthcare, and banking because they used the same password everywhere. Password managers exist to solve the problem of having different, and complex, passwords for every online service we use. A password manager is a virtual “vault” that creates and stores passwords and remembers them so you don’t have to. All you have to remember is your master password and private key to access your password manager, and then let it auto-fill your login details on sites you’ve saved into it.
What should we look for in a password manager?
*End-to-end encryption (E2EE) of our personal data, meaning our passwords are hidden from everyone except us, even the company that makes the software. So even if they’re hacked, our passwords are safe.
Easy 2-factor authentication through the password manager (using a text message is potentially hackable via things like SIM-jacking).
Alerts if any passwords or sites we use have been hacked or breached in any way.*
1Password does all of this and does it well. We’ve both been using 1Password for years. Having a password manager, any password manager, is a must-have in 2021.
Note: LastPass, Bitwarden are alternatives to consider