February 15, 2017

Password and password managers problems: Solved in a single update

Products Security

We keep talking (and talking, and talking) about passwords. Having strong passwords for all accounts is really a must: Our recent study shows that one in five users has experienced attempts to hack their accounts — usually by plain and simple brute-force cracking of weak passwords.

Keep in mind that any digital account is more than just a way to access certain information. Accounts in social networks are keys to our memories that we probably don’t want to lose, and to some degree they are our reputation, which we probably don’t want smeared.

Gaming accounts are especially attractive to cybercriminals; many people who have accounts on gaming services like Steam or Battle.net invest huge sums of money in games. And if crooks steal your e-mail account? Game over. Users’ accounts are typically tied to their e-mail, so if you lose control of that, you can say goodbye to basically all of your digital life.

That’s why Captain Obvious is here to repeat yet again: Protect everything with strong, secure passwords. But there is a problem with that: The more secure is the password, the harder is to remember. And we have to remember not just one password, but dozens — for different services. So people often find themselves struggling: “Is that the password that I set up for this service? No. OK, maybe that one? No. One more wrong guess and I’ll be locked out!”

It would be easier if we could use just one strong and secure password for every service, but that’s tremendously insecure. If just one service’s database is leaked (and that happens alarmingly often), you’ll probably lose not just one account, but all of them at once. For example, that’s how hackers snagged Mark Zuckerberg’s Twitter account — the password was exposed in the LinkedIn breach.

There is a solution to this problem — password managers. For example, our own Kaspersky Password Manager can help you create really strong passwords — passwords that no one can hack. They store those passwords and input them on your behalf, so you don’t need to remember the complex character sequences. You have to memorize only one — the master password — and Password Manager will input the corresponding password for the particular service you are trying to access. Easy!

A good password manager becomes the best

But there is a problem with password managers as well: The more you rely on them, the more likely you are to forget every one of your passwords but the master password. And what if you have to access one of your accounts from someone else’s device? For example, that might happen if you want to show some pictures from your cloud storage to your friend when staying at their place or, say, play an online game together with them, and that game is tied to your Steam account. You probably won’t remember the password for this service, and installing a password manager on someone else’s PC or smartphone doesn’t seem like a good idea.

Starting today, Kaspersky Password Manager can help you with that problem. Now it has a web interface that you can access from your My Kaspersky account. So you can simply input your master password there to see a list of your passwords. Just copy the right one and paste it into the cloud service or Steam or whatever. You don’t need to install Password Manager on someone else’s computer and leave that person access to your passwords (you do, of course, need to log off when you’re done).

There are actually more improvements in the new version of our Password Manager.

  • You probably have a few older passwords from before you installed the Password Manager. Are they strong enough? Password Manager can create a list of weak passwords you’re using, and mark the ones that are used on more than one service, so you can easily change them.
  • It’s really convenient to use fingerprint scanners instead of typing in long master passwords every now and then. Now this feature is available not only on iPhone and iPad, but also on Apple Macbook Pro with Touchbar.
  • Many who actively use password managers have more than a hundred accounts tied to theirs. And to find the one you need — for example, if you want to change a password — it’s easier to use search than to scroll through the list. In the new version of Kaspersky Password Manager, you can use voice search for that — only in Google Chrome, but it works on all of your devices.

To sum up: Our Password Manager was good, and now it’s even better. Did we mention that most of its functions can be used free? Well, they can, so what’s holding you back you from grabbing a copy here and enjoying it?