WOOD TV8: Experts Share Secrets to Creating, Managing Passwords

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — If you’re constantly resetting passwords because you can’t remember the last one you created, consider the method information technology professionals use: the password manager.

“Think of it like a bank vault,” explained Andy Syrewicze, a senior engineer at Grandville-based IT service provider Trivalent Group. “It kind of becomes an essential repository for all those passwords.”

Programs like LastPass, Dashlane and 1Password will generate random, super-strong passwords for you and store them in an encrypted database.

You then access your “vault” through one “master” password.

“This is one of those rare areas where you can actually make your life easier when you need to get to your passwords,” Syrewicze said.

Password managers store your login information for all the websites you use and help you log into them automatically, meaning you no longer have to remember multiple passwords for multiple sites.

If you’re wondering if it’s safe to keep all those passwords stored in one place, Syrewicze says it is.

“They put a lot more security measures in place that make it a lot more difficult for them to be breached,” he explained. “You don’t hear about the LastPasses of the world being breached like you do the retail companies and insurance providers because security is what (LastPass) does.”

Another West Michigan IT expert agrees.

“A password manager is good when you have bunches and bunches of passwords,” said John Klein, head of the IT Department at Grand Valley State University.

The programs vary in terms of mobile app offerings and cost. Some are free. Others are available through a subscription or one-time payment option.

Some password managers offer what’s called “two-factor authentication.” That means you need two separate items to access your database.

For instance, you might have to provide your password and your thumbprint. Increasingly, computers are coming with fingerprint scanners.

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