Passwords are a large part of the online experience. They are required to check your email, buy something online, pay your bills, or post something on a forum. These days, we have so many accounts, we do not have the time to memorize all of the passwords and we resort to using one password over and over again. This is a big mistake. If someone with wrong intentions gets your password for any account, the rest of your accounts are automatically compromised. With this one password, they can reset the rest of them, which usually send you password reset emails. The hacker is now free to do online banking with something as simple as your Dominos Pizza app password.
To prevent this issue, you can use very long complicated alphanumeric passwords. They should have at least 12 characters, include numbers, symbols, capital, lowercase, and should not contain common dictionary words. Dictionary words can lead to your password being brute forced. You can also use the auto generate function inside any popular password manager. These will create unique passwords every time, and can be saved for you and autofilled online.
There are many popular password managers, including 1Password and LastPass. Both have strong encryption and rely on one very strong password to protect the others. This means you should memorize is very well, or you will lose your others. Consider keeping a physical copy of it in a secure location, such as a safe. Keeping plain text passwords and other important numbers on your computer is very unsecure and if you get a virus, you could lose a lot of data. This is one way identity theft can occur. To combat this, password managers can also be used to store other sensitive data, such as your credit card information and Social Security Number.
Using a password manager with automatically generated passwords for each account is a very good practice, even if you need to check for the password every time you need to login to a service online. To fix this problem, password mangers usually have a corresponding browser extension. If you enter your password into it, it will autofill your randomly chose password, which can sometimes exceed 20 characters. Your passwords in these managers can also be synced between multiple devices, allowing for multi platform support. The apps on Android and iOS support fingerprint authentication, allowing you to sign in to websites by scanning you finger. This is very convenient, but the long alphanumeric passwords keep you safe as well.
If you still feel that you need security, a good setting to enable would be two-factor or two-step authentication. This is when you need to login with your regular password and a one time code sent to you phone. Using this feature will make it very tricky to login remotely, as they do not have physical access to the short code, which is usually 5 or 6 digits long. Enabling this feature, will be a little more cumbersome, but adds a new layer of security to your online accounts.
Techradar.com has a good article on various password managers and which is right for you, as some are free, and some have more premium paid features. Picking the right one is crucial for you to keep all you passwords securely in one place, across all your devices.
While it might be crucial to have strong passwords now, we are already heading into a future of biometric authentication, and using our fingers and eyes as passwords to everything in our lives. These methods are becoming increasingly accurate, and they will eventually get rid of the complicated mess called passwords. Until then, your best option is to use very strong passwords, a manager to keep all of them safe, and two factor authentication.