How to Secure your Passwords in 30 Minutes
Many people delay setting up a password manager because it seems like a big time commitment to get started. It doesn’t have to be and I’m here to give you some tips on how to set-up a password manager when time is not on your side.
Step 1: Choose your password manager.
Trusting one company to hold all of your passwords can seem scary. So many people ask me, “What if the password manager becomes breached? Doesn’t this put your passwords at more risk?”
This is a very smart question and definitely one worth asking. This is why it is important to choose a company that you can trust. Searching for a secure password manager also adds to the time commitment to set-up a password manager. So for the sake of time, I’ve done that for you. Here are my top 3 recommendations, the reasons I trust them, and a comparison of the features between them.
|Ease of Use Ranking (based off personal use)||2nd||1st||3rd|
|Cost||FreePremium @ $2/mo
Family @ $4/mo
|FreePremium @ $4.99/moPremium Plus @ 9.99/mo||Individual @ $2.99/moFamily @ $4.99/mo|
|Strong Password generation||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Family Account Option||Yes||No||Yes|
|Secure Password Sharing||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Travel Safety Mode||No||No||Yes|
|Mobile App||Yes, Android, iOS, Windows||Yes: Android & iOS||Yes: Android, iOS, Windows|
|Desktop App||Yes: Mac, Windows, Linux||Yes: Mac and Windows||Yes: Mac and Windows|
|Browser Extension||Yes: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, Opera||Yes: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, Edge, Opera||Yes: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, Opera|
Why I trust these 3 companies?
All 3 of these companies use the strongest level of encryption that is currently available in the industry, AES-256 encryption. This is referred to as “Military grade encryption”, which is widely used by governments and banks. Even if the encrypted data were to become compromised, it would take billions of years for a computer to decrypt this level of encryption.
What is encryption? Encryption is the process of encoding a message or data so that only authorized parties can access it.
Step 2: Create your account.
Okay, now that you have chosen your password manager, let’s create an account. Things that you should keep in mind:
Create a strong master password to protect your password management account. It is going to store a lot of sensitive information, so pick a good one. But there is good news: this is the only password you need to remember. I suggest going with a long nonsensical phrase, like Pillowsliketojumpandhide! (Don’t use this one ;))
Or take your favorite song lyric and take the first letter from each word in the line. If you are constantly singing Taylor Swift, the lyric...
The world moves on, another day, another drama, drama
But not for me all I think about is karma!
(Try guessing that hackers!)
Enable two-factor authentication on your password manager account: Keep that account extra secure by turning on two-factor authentication. This protects the account from unwanted intruders, in the case that your master password falls into the wrong hands. This is done by requiring an additional code at login that is generated by an item in your possession (Like an app on your phone).
Two-factor authentication is a method of confirming your identity when logging into an account through a combination of two different factors: something you know, something you have, or something you are.
To save you some time, here are the support guides for each of the companies I suggested above:
Step 3. Make your account easy for you to access.
Where will you need to access your password manager? Your laptop? Your phone? Download the desktop app, browser extension, and mobile app. Then log into your account in all these different places. Then you are ready to go when you need to access them and don’t have to waste time later.
Step 4. Add your accounts to your password manager
This seems like the most time consuming part of the process, especially if you have a lot of accounts. But here is the secret, you don’t need to add your accounts right now. You are already finished setting your password manager up! Pat yourself on the back.
But how do I add all my passwords?!
Commit yourself to adding a password to your password manager the next time you log into a new account. This breaks the process up into a more manageable chunks. After about a month, you will have the majority of your passwords safely stored in your password manager.
Some things to keep in mind as you are adding passwords…
Ask yourself, is my current password secure?
My criteria for a secure password:
Is it long? (12 characters or longer)
Is it unique? (Does only this account use this password)
If you answered No to any of those questions, change your password and store the new, secure password in your password manager. Even a password manager cannot protect an account if the password is bad.
Finally, find out if your current password has been compromised in a data breach? To do this, visit https://haveibeenpwned.com/ and enter your username or email address to check.
Now go celebrate for a half hour well spent. 🎉