We enter passwords online 10 times a day, according to research from the global payments company Skrill. Think about it – that’s probably more often than you look in the mirror or say hello.
When you use passwords almost 4,000 times a year, it’s worth making them strong. Well, strong and unique, experts tend to say. Strong meaning numbers and letters, upper and lower case and symbols. Unique meaning you steer clear of reusing passwords. But that becomes a logistical nightmare, and not many of us have the brainpower.
Google recently surveyed more than 200 security experts and 300 standard online users, and found the experts were three times more likely to use a password manager.
There are several password managers on the market; Keeper claims to be the most secure, using “military-grade encryption technology” to store logins, passwords, financial information and even documents, photos and videos in its digital vault.
It has been downloaded 10 million times and comes preloaded on Android and Windows phones on the American A&T network. Keeper works with one master password and it’s up to you to make sure that password is strong and unique, as it’s protecting all your other files – and Keeper does not rate its strength as you type.
If you forget it, you also need to answer a security question to get into your account. On the iPhone you can use TouchID.
You can then add entries, file them into folders (such as finance and social media) and ask Keeper to generate and save random, maximum-strength passwords for you. You can even auto-launch into websites, with login and password pre-filled, direct from the app.
Keeper reminds you when to back up your data, and can be set to auto-logout from anything to a second to 30 minutes and to self-destruct after five failed logins, in case someone gets their hands on your phone.
The app is free on a single device; a subscription costs US$29.99 a year for unlimited devices and syncing. Adding file storage costs from $9.99 a year for 10GB, up to $749.99 for a terabyte.
q&a top secret treatment for all
Suzanne Locke expands on the uses of the password manager app Keeper:
How do I know it’s secure?
Information is encrypted and decrypted on the fly on the device used, says Keeper, using Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) with a 256-bit key length – “sufficiently secure to encrypt classified data up to top secret for the US government”. Cipher keys used for customer records are not stored or transmitted by Keeper; only an encrypted version of the cipher key is stored and can only be decrypted on the device itself.
So I forgot my work password – so what?
It’s expensive. IBM estimates that up to 40 per cent of help desk requests are password-related – and sitting on hold asking for a password to be reset costs about $20 a time. Security firm Centrify calculates that the average 500-person firm loses $187,000 a year between staff managing their passwords and then getting them reset.
What are the worst password mistakes?
According to Centrify, using the same password wherever possible, rotating through a variety of similar passwords, keeping a written list in a master book of passwords, using personal information as a password and avoiding complicated symbols in passwords.
Does Keeper have any competition?
There are quite a few – 1Password, Lastpass, Keepass, Dhashlane and Sticky Password, to name a few. Keeper is simple but be sure to keep that master password safe.
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