When it comes to data security, even smart people make this one incredibly stupid mistake: They use the same password on multiple websites. Even if you use (and reuse) a strong, virtually unbreakable password, this all-too-common blunder instantly leaves you vulnerable. As soon as one of the websites you use your password on gets hacked, it’s going to screw up your week.
Luckily this is one headache that’s easy to avoid.
Even the most careful among us makes a forehead-slapping mistake from time to time. So if you’ve been reusing passwords, don’t feel stupid. Or, worse yet, get paralyzed with fear. Instead, download a quality password manager and start setting things straight.
Why use a password manager
Aside from making it easy to generate (and autofill) unique, secure passwords for every online site or service you use, using a password manager offers plenty of side benefits.
A good password manager makes it easier and quicker to log into online accounts in general. Some offer secure vaults for storing credit cards and other sensitive documents and data. But the best reason is the boost to your overall online security.
If we’re being honest, most people reuse the same password on at least a couple websites. But that simple habit is actually a recipe for disaster. Passwords can be leaked in all kinds of ways, and in vast numbers.
It actually happens a lot. Last January, in fact, the largest breach in history was discovered. Known as the Collection #1 data breach, it left a staggering 770 million email addresses and passwords out in the open for anyone to peruse. This breach existed for about a month. And if you never heard about it, you probably haven’t even changed any of your passwords that might have been affected.
Even if just one of your reused passwords got caught up in that breach, any other accounts that also use that password remain vulnerable. For this reason, reusing passwords can act as a kind of force multiplier for hackers.
Unfortunately, juggling an endless number of unique, strong passwords proves impossible for ordinary people. And that fuels the risky habit of reusing passwords.
This is just one more reason to get a password manager. When a breach happens, a top-shelf password manager can alert you to the danger. Some even offer tools for quickly changing your passwords immediately.
A good password manager is therefore a must if you want to keep yourself safe online. The one we know best is Dashlane. It’s actually the official password manager for Cult of Mac. And you can start using it today for free.
Dashlane: Strong, secure password manager
Dashlane offers secure access to all your logins and passwords with a single master password. The feature-packed password manager works on Macs and iOS devices, as well as Windows and Android machines.
The Dashline Security Dashboard flags reused passwords, and tells you which of your passwords need strengthening. Dashlane also serves up security alerts to let you know if sites you frequent got hacked. That type of timely intel proves really useful when websites get compromised.
Dashlane’s password generator makes it easy to swap out old, weak passwords with new, strong ones. In fact, there’s even a “magic button” that keeps your logins secure by automatically changing weak passwords for you. (This feature works for about 500 popular websites. Just find the site in your Dashlane dashboard. Then, under the more section, you’ll find the option to auto-change password. Click it, and you’ve got a new password, with no need to think one up or write it down.)
It’s also a great way to store credit card info and other crucial data, like your Social Security or passport information, wireless network credentials, etc.
Dashlane on iOS, Mac and more
With the Dashlane iOS app, you can log in with Touch ID or Face ID, so you don’t even need to type in your master password all the time. And the inclusion of Password Autofill in iOS 12 made password managers like Dashlane even easier to use on iPhones and iPads.
On your Mac, the Dashlane app makes it simple to manage all your passwords and other personal data. Dashlane also can integrate with your web browser. The Dashlane browser extension will whisk you through the login pages of sites you use. And whenever you create a new account on a website, Dashlane will automatically generate a new, secure password for you.
It’s also a great way to integrate payments and form-filling straight into your browser, saving you a lot of time and annoyance.
Dashlane also works with Windows and Android
Even though you might only use Apple devices, Dashlane’s cross-platform compatibility makes it even more useful if you need to venture outside Cupertino’s shiny ecosystem.
Since Dashlane also runs on Windows and Android machines, it works perfectly with any non-Apple devices in your life. Whether it’s a PC at work or at your parents’ place, or even a public computer you need to use in a pinch, Dashlane goes beyond what Apple Keychain can do.
Imagine: You’re traveling in the Grand Canyon and drop your iPhone into the Colorado River. With Dashlane, you can access your passwords (and all your other encrypted data) from any computer, anywhere.
Use Dashlane for free
With all these tools at your fingertips, there’s no reason to make that sorry mistake of reusing passwords.
Protecting our data is more important than ever these days. And if you’re going to get serious about it, using a good password manager is an absolute must. There is probably no easier or quicker way to significantly boost your online security.
We recommend Dashlane, for all the reasons above and because it’s intuitive and effective. You can get it on one device for free. If you like the service and want to use it on all your devices, a Dashlane Premium subscription costs just $4.99 a month (billed annually).