A password manager is a secure program that stores unique passwords, generates secure random passwords, guards sensitive data, and sends out alerts to protect you from malicious websites.
As more older adults begin using technology on a regular basis, the need for security measures is (or at least should be) an important add-on for all of our devices. One very effective way to improve the security level is to use a password manager.
But should senior citizens bother with using a dedicated password manager? – As technology becomes more prevalent and complicated for most older adults, the task of password management and maintaining the number of different passwords for all their online accounts can become daunting.
Using a good password manager can keep your passwords handy which can make life much safer and easier for seniors and their family members.
Of course, ease of use is an issue as well. If your senior loved one is unable to use a password manager then it won’t matter how many advanced features it has to offer. So, ease of use is very important.
What Is The Purpose Of A Password Manager?
Simply said, password managers are companies that provide the main service of securing your passwords and other sensitive data.
When you purchase a premium password manager and install the program on your computer or mobile devices, it will securely save your passwords and personal data for you. It can also help you generate new passwords.
You can use these programs for your social media accounts, social security numbers, credit card numbers, financial data, bank accounts, etc
We also know that it’s prudent to keep changing your passwords every so often. A good rule of thumb would be to create a new password for each account at least every 6 months.
According to the folks at McAfee Online Security Service – “Cybersecurity experts recommend changing your password every three months.” This can be extremely cumbersome and difficult to keep up with especially all the online activities that we are all doing more and more of each day.
A password manager on your computer can help to alleviate all of that and keep you as secure as possible.
How Exactly Do Password Managers Work?
According to LastPass, “81% of confirmed data breaches are due to passwords.”
A password manager app uses layers of technology to keep your passwords and login information safe. These layers are data encryption, a security key, and the password to the password manager itself, which is not stored in the system. A hacker can’t get into the account without having all three components.
In fact, Business Insider reports that, “all leading password managers use a technique called “zero knowledge. Zero-knowledge security means that although the password manager knows your passwords, the company that makes the manager doesn’t.”
To get into the password manager account, you use a single password which is often called a master password. This way you just need to remember one password to gain access to your information.
Because these programs are an online service, you can access them via your computer, tablet or mobile device.
Additionally, every password manager company offers additional premium features as well – so the one you end up choosing is the one that offers you the specific services that you need.
For older adults – we recommend Easeenet – it is a password manager company that provides services specifically for older adults.
- Password manager services
- Secure document storage
- Online journal for your thoughts, notes, etc.
- Dashboard that allows you to organize your favorite websites into easy to see and use folders
- Legacy contact – so if anything were to happen to you the person you designated as your legacy would have access to your digital estate
Some programs offer the option to add other pieces of personal information such as data about credit cards, bank accounts, etc.
Why Are Password Managers A Good Idea For Seniors?
If you are concerned about your online security (and who isn’t) then yes, of course, password managers are a very good idea. The prices are generally very low compared to the peace of mind and security that you get knowing that your “digital estate” is protected.
According to the 2019 Verizon Data Breach Investigations report, 80 percent of data breaches are caused by compromised, weak, and reused passwords.malwarebytes.com
Password managers can help you to keep up with the seemingly never ending task of updating your passwords which is what is recommended by most Internet security experts.
So yes, I would recommend that all older adults (and everyone with a computer) to use a password manager type of program.
Of course, in addition to using this type of program you also want to make sure that you are using strong passwords as well.
How To Create A Strong Password
Here are some best practices on the best way to avoid using weak passwords and instead create stronger passwords that can be difficult to crack.
- Use a password generator
- Create a complex password by using a full sentence (an uncommon one)
- Never use familiar terms (i.e. your street address, mother’s maiden name, dog’s name, children’s name, etc.)
- Longer passwords are stronger than shorter ones
- If possible, include special characters such as & and * in your password
What Is The Main Risk Of Using A Password Manager?
So the next question inevitably asked is how safe are these programs? After all, you are relying on them to store ALL of your vital information regarding the websites that you visit through your computer.
This of course can include your bank, your doctor offices, your social security account just to name a few.
Password managers are not a magic pill,” Lujo Bauer, a security researcher and associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University, says, “but for most users they’ll offer a much better combination of security and convenience than they have without them. Everyone should be using one.consumerreports.org
I don’t want you to be under the illusion that these password manager programs are 100% secure – nothing is.
All password manager programs have had their share of malicious breaches but yet – they are still more secure than not using one at all. Generally speaking, these companies employ the latest technology in keeping your information, that you trust them with, as secure as possible.
“Password companies have some of the highest standards of security, and folks should be able to sleep pretty well at night knowing that these companies are taking concerns seriously…”Casey Ellis, found of Bugcrowd
The best password managers are ones that use two-factor authentication can further secure your data. This adds an extra layer of security to your program.
Which Password Manager Should Older Adults Use?
As I said earlier, you want to choose the password manager program that provides the services you need. Some popular password managers that we recommend are…
- Last Pass
You can read more about each one of these here. Go through them and look for the specific services that suit your needs.
Many of these offer a free trial version that you can try on a short term basis Some may also offer a family plan if you are looking for one program to cover you and your family.
There are also some free password managers that you can take a look at. I would be cautious about using a free version though.
So, are password managers worth paying for? The short answer is yes if the user finds them easy to use.