Are Password Managers a Good Idea?

Hacker

Hackers are already selling account information for Disney+, the new streaming service which launched just over a week ago. (Photo courtesy Canva)

If you use online services for banks, games, music, shopping, and even streaming services like the new Disney+ platform, you need passwords for each one. But how do you remember all of them? Do you have them written down on a sheet of paper somewhere? Or, God forbid, do you use the same passwords over and over again in an effort to keep your sanity? If so, not only are you taking an enormous risk with all your personal information, but you’re basically asking hackers to take over your life. So what should you do? It’s time to download a password manager to help you simplify and protect your life in cyberspace.

Why do you need a password manager? If you’re like me, you were one of the millions of people out there waiting anxiously for the new Disney+ streaming service’s debut on Nov. 12. Although the service is everything it was rumored to be and more, it is also a service which is apparently high on hackers’ radar too. According to the Washington Post, many subscribers have already been locked out of their accounts after their information was stolen and was either given away for free or sold online for as little as $3 apiece.

Disney denies that their systems have been breached. Similar cases have been reported by other streaming services like Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Netflix. What this means is that users have recycled passwords rather than creating unique ones for each site. As a result, hackers prey on this lackadaisical mentality, one shared by 52 percent of the population according to a survey taken by Google. So when hackers crack into one site, they can try using those stolen passwords on other sites in an attempt to find one that works.

That’s where password managers come in. Popular Science reports that these devices do two things: first, they auto fill existing passwords for you. Second, they also generate long, complex, random codes for you and store those too. If you use Chrome or Safari, these password managers are already built into the browser. Also, if you use an Apple device, this service is built in and shared among all your other Apple products, including your iPhone, iPad, Macbook, and Safari applications. Of course, you can also download a third-party password manager which will work on any device, regardless of the manufacturer.

Personally, I realized the importance of using a password manager when I received a blackmail email threatening to release video footage of me in my home. The email appeared to have come from my old college email address and included my password, a fact which quite literally terrified me, although The Guardian reports that this scam is pretty common and is more a fishing expedition rather than a true threat. Nevertheless, I immediately changed all my passwords and began using a password manager to help create strong passwords for each site. Even so, in an article from Business Insider, experts recommend the need to change important passwords on a fairly regular basis.

The lesson here? Don’t be careless with your online security. The threats are simply too real to ignore, and as the Disney+ case proves, even the most trusted companies can be prey to those with ill intent. 

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

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