Passwords driving you crazy? Here’s an easy way to manage them

In our digital world, it seems like everything needs a password. It doesn’t matter whether you’re checking a 401K balance or ordering a pizza.

To deal with it, most of us have adopted some habits that leave us open to being hacked.

One woman in downtown Salem said, “I have to use so many different passwords, it’s really hard for me to keep up with them.”

Another told Boston 25 News that managing them isn’t a challenge “as long as I have my list, if I don’t have my list then I don’t know my passwords.”

Strong passwords aren’t always easy to remember, but they’re essential to keeping our information and our money safe.

“If your password is “password 1-2-3″, go and change that now,” said Ryan Heidorn, co-founder and managing director of Steel Root, a cyber security firm in Salem.

“Typically, people use some combination of a loved one’s name, or a pet or something like that, but we really want to see much longer and more complex passwords,” added Heidorn.

The thought of longer and more complex passwords got this response from a man in Salem: “It’s a nightmare.”

He went on to tell us that his printer at home is covered with sticky notes for all the passwords he tries to manage.

Tech experts say signing up for a password manager is an easy and safe solution.

“It’s a computer program that allows you to generate, store, and manage any number of passwords you like,” explained Ned Hosic of Boston iPhone Repair in Harvard Square.

He showed us how it easy it is to set up an account which then generates and remembers long passwords for all the sites you visit.

“You don’t need to be tech savvy,” added Hosic. “The caveat with a password manager is you only have to remember the one master password and then you have access to all your different password accounts.”

That means you’re covered if you’re banking or shopping online.

The passwords from a manager don’t contain personal information, like an old address. This makes them much more difficult to be hacked.

Heidorn suggests several password managers: Bitwarden, Last Pass, 1Password, or Dashlane.

“We are still relying on passwords as a primary mode of security for most of our accounts,” Heidorn said. “Hopefully someday passwords will go away, but that day is not here yet.”

Some of us can’t wait. “I always think I going to remember them but then I don’t,” said another woman in Salem.

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