Best Ways to Keep Passwords Organized: 2022 Guide
Passwords secure our sensitive information, but if they fall into the wrong hands, it could spell disaster for your data. Passwords are the last line of defense in a culture where practically everything is stored online, including your bank account information, social media accounts, business information, or sensitive personal information. You are vulnerable to hackers if you do not keep track of your passwords appropriately.
However, managing passwords is much easier said than done. The typical person has numerous accounts, each with its own login and password. Several websites now feature multi-factor authentication and character specifications in addition to requiring a password.
While users likely have an ever-expanding library of passwords, remembering all of them is next to impossible, particularly if you use new combinations every time. In this guide, we’ll focus on the best way to keep passwords organized.
Importance of Keeping Your Passwords Safe and Organized
Unprotected passwords are a large problem around the world. According to market research, consumers are shockingly careless when it comes to cybersecurity. As shown by a Pew Research poll on mobile security and password management, a sizable proportion of Americans keep their passwords in handwritten lists.
Millions of people in the United Kingdom, according to the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), use the same password for virtually all of their logins. The top five passwords in hacked accounts were 1111111, 123456789, “password”, 123456, and “qwerty”.
A strong password fortifies your physical devices and online accounts against illegal access. For enterprises, the significance of a strong password is magnified, as they protect both client information and critical data stored in the organization’s systems.
However, since most small firms lack a specialized cybersecurity staff, they are easy victims for hackers. According to Verizon’s Data Breach Investigations Report, small firms accounted for 43% of all data breaches in 2021.
Thankfully, you can improve your cybersecurity by taking proactive measures. Let’s have a look at the best way to keep passwords organized:
Best Ways to Keep Your Passwords Organized
The best tool for managing and organizing your usernames or passwords is largely dictated by the number of users, personal requirements, and the number of passwords.
Use an Excel spreadsheet
Using encrypted Excel spreadsheets to organize passwords is a simple yet effective method if done correctly. Simply Google “Spreadsheet templates” or “Password log Excel template” for saving passwords” and select an Excel template that meets your requirements.
You can also easily generate a customized password log from scratch. Divide the spreadsheet into columns to record the data, which should include your login username, the individual account, password, and any comments or password hints. Following the entry of your data, the next stage is to protect the document with a master password. If you don’t do this, you’ll be much more vulnerable than before.
To safeguard your important Excel file, go to the “File” menu. Navigate to the Details tab and choose “Protect Workbook.” There will be a password-protected encryption option. After you’ve chosen a secure password, validate it, and you’re done. Your Excel file, as well as all of your important passwords, are now appropriately organized and secured by a difficult-to-crack master password. When you attempt to open the file, you will be prompted for the password.
The next stage in Excel password management is to store the document in a convenient yet secure location. Consider using cloud services such as Dropbox or Google Drive for convenience. Never save your file with the term “passwords” in it.
Use a password management software
There are several database apps and password management services available to assist you in keeping passwords organized. They act as virtual vaults, collecting all of your vital data and storing it in highly secured ways.
Instead of remembering a slew of difficult passwords with various symbols and letters, you just need to remember one hyper-secure password. Your data is often synced between desktop components and PDA platforms to guarantee that you have access to it when you need it.
Finding the best app is a matter of preferences and personal needs, such as simplicity of use, user reviews, or pricing. Remember that while some password management systems are free of charge, others may require premium memberships. However, given the level of risk you subject yourself to by not having a safe means to manage your passwords, this is money well spent.
Develop a paper-based system
Many people are skeptical about electronic password management solutions. If you fall into this category, here are some pointers for using paper-based technologies without jeopardizing security:
- Never place or store a written password in an easily accessible or visible location.
- Never use terms that imply your notebook or password-containing card is a password keeper.
- Consider reordering the list in a specific sequence known only to you, along with utilizing clues. For example, you may reverse the order of the list such that the password for the first username is at the bottom. The idea is to “code” your information such that it is challenging for unauthorized parties to comprehend it.
- Avoid using entire characters when writing down passwords. Use hints that only you will be able to decipher. For example, if one of your passwords is “2021Kiki13,” you may substitute a clue such as “year+name+date” for the real password. This serves as a preventative measure of protection in the event that someone gains access to your password keeper.
Save passwords in your browser
Most browsers like Google chrome now have this feature: When you sign in to a website, you will be prompted to save your credentials in your browser. If you click agree, your login information will be saved in the browser.
Another alternative is to add this feature to your browser by installing a plugin or extension, and it will function precisely the same. The browser password management application has the benefit of being able to be synchronized in the cloud. As a result, if you use the same browser on all of your devices, you’ll be able to access your passwords on all of them.
If you intend to utilize your browser’s built-in password keeper, ensure that your device is password secured. Otherwise, anyone using your device will be able to sign in to the websites using your credentials.
Password Organization Mistakes to Avoid
There are simple and secure methods for organizing your passwords. We’ll start by showing you a frequent password error, along with how to fix it:
Don’t store your passwords in multiple locations
You may have a password app on your mobile device, a password manager built into your online browser, a notepad stowed somewhere in your desk, a few sticky notes taped to your computer display, and that password printable freebie that you filled out and then promptly forgot about. How do you locate the required password, and how can you know which passwords are the most recent?
Solution: Select a single system to store your passwords. You will always have the most up-to-date password at your disposal.
Never use the same password across all your accounts
If you use the same password across all of your accounts, and someone obtains it, it is possible that all of your accounts could be hacked.
Solution: When you need to establish a safe password, use a password manager to make one for you. If you don’t trust the password manager, you can construct your own string of lowercase and uppercase characters, numbers, and symbols.
Remember to save the randomized password in your password manager. You don’t need to remember or write it down because it will be filled in automatically the next time you sign in.
Avoid sharing your passwords
Email and chats aren’t as secure as we may like to believe. You should never transmit sensitive information over these platforms, since it may be readily exploited.
Solution: The best password managers make it simple and secure to exchange passwords with team members, clients, and family members. Some even enable you to transfer passwords privately so that the other person cannot see them, but they may still autofill the password and log in to an account.
How Do Hackers Steal Your Passwords?
Cybercrime is a massive and recurrent issue, and cybercriminals are always looking for new ways to attack victims. While these methods generally require a great deal of expertise and coordination to pull off, they generally rely on user leniency and unfamiliarity to accomplish their goals.
Here are a few strategies that hackers frequently employ to take advantage of victims, along with a few ways you can protect yourself:
The main objective of phishing is to trick an unwary user into disclosing sensitive information such as credit card numbers or login passwords. Hackers frequently disguise their harmful websites or apps as reputable services.
Any data submitted to the fake website is sent to the hacker, who now has full access to personal accounts. The simplest way to safeguard your private information is to learn how to identify phony websites and apps. If a link or app looks suspicious, it’s always best to avoid opening it.
If you manually enter your passwords each time you check in to a service, keyloggers can pose a serious threat to your cybersecurity. Keyloggers are malware programs that run in the background of your computer and collect data from keystrokes. This information is sent to a cybercriminal, who then utilizes your typing heat map to deduce your passwords and acquire your credentials. Since a keylogger can function almost undetected, it is vital to invest in a powerful antivirus tool.
With this traditional hacking technique, a hacker carefully guesses all possible password combinations until one checks out. As you would expect, this is a time-consuming process with slim chances of success, unless the cybercriminal knows you personally. Rather than guessing passwords by hand, hackers employ specialized programs that can handle millions of login attempts. Weak passwords often fail here because they are easier and faster to steal.
A data leak signifies that your system’s flaws have been discovered, and the gaps have been disclosed. Post-exploitation tools are used by hackers to get access to your system and obtain as much information as possible. They typically work swiftly to fully exploit a weakness in your system prior to implementing security measures.
Disturbing news about a firm being hacked and user passwords being stolen has surfaced time and again. UnderArmour, Adobe, LinkedIn, Yahoo, Canva, Dubsmash, and eBay are just a few well-known organizations that have had their data compromised. In the instance of Yahoo, the company disclosed a hack that exposed three billion accounts, the world’s largest cyber-attack recorded.
If the hacked details are made public and a hacker gains access to your account, they could try to access your other accounts if you reuse your passwords. This highlights the risks of using the same password for all of your accounts.
Bonus: Tips for Creating a Secure Password
Here are some recommended practices for passwords to help you boost your cybersecurity:
Keep it longer
The longer your password, the more likely it is to withstand a hacking attempt. Using longer strings of characters and numbers (perhaps 16 or more) increases the security of your password enormously. A long-phrase is difficult to crack yet easy to remember if the combination is purposely randomized.
Share sensitive credentials with caution
Anyone who has access to your credentials is an extra target for hackers and a risk to you. As a result, unless absolutely essential, never share your credentials with anybody. Some multi-user accounts may even reset their passwords, keeping you out of your own accounts.
Make it unique
One of the worst mistakes a small business or person can make is duplicating passwords across websites, platforms, and applications. It exposes you to a wide range of potentially harmful hacking attacks. Ensure each piece of login information is distinct, even if it’s just for a short time.
When creating a new password, try to use a random combination or string of words. Avoid using popular terms like the names of your birthdays, children, anniversaries, or pets, A hacker can obtain enough personal information to hack these popular terms with a comprehensive internet search and a few tools. You may also use a trustworthy password generator to mix things up even more.
Activate two-factor authentication
The final option for preventing hackers from gaining access to your accounts is to enable two-factor authentication. This is a way of validating a user’s identification in which the user must produce two pieces of evidence in order to be permitted access.
Most web services now support two-factor authentication. When enabled, you’ll be prompted to enter your login credentials as well as a one-time password (OTP) to log in. This OTP may be obtained through SMS on your phone or with an authenticator app. This technique works all the time, even if your phone isn’t connected to the network.
In addition, the software creates a six-digit number that expires after a few seconds. To gain access, you must input that code on the website before it expires. Nobody can log in until they have the right OTP, even if they have successfully stolen your login credentials.
Whether or not you’ve been notified of a data breach, it’s a good idea to change your passwords every few months. This is a vital security safeguard to keep your credentials safe in the event that the login service is compromised.
Every 39 seconds, hackers attempt to penetrate a computer. According to a study conducted by the University of Maryland, non-secure passwords and usernames are the primary risk factors. Worryingly, the FBI and a number of cybersecurity firms have reported a 300% rise in hacking assaults since the COVID-19 issue.
A few minutes spent setting a password might spare you years of financial damage due to data leaks. If remembering these details is tough, try using some of the best password management tools, as outlined in the article. It can be done using spreadsheets in Excel, on paper, or with password management software.
The next cyber-attack could be just around the corner, and it is up to you to ensure that you are not a victim. In a digital world where hackers are innovating at an alarming rate, it is critical to protect your login information using the password management strategies listed above.