Don’t Pass on Password Managers

Recent Cyber Security industry statistics show that weak, default, or stolen passwords are involved in up to 80% of data breaches each year.

Passwords figure prominently in many areas of our daily functions such as logging onto work computers, doing online banking, sending email, accessing social media accounts and making most online shopping possible. A consistent, clear, repeated warning from Cyber Security experts and insiders is: creating complex passwords (i.e. comprised of both upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters) that are unique and lengthy is one way to ensure safe online activity.

Practicing healthy Cyber Security hygiene by implementing unusual passwords is outstanding in theory; it's just that the average person has multiple password-protected accounts. Remembering which password aligns with each one of those accounts can be a challenge. That's why using a password manager is helpful.

Advantages of Password Managers:

    1. It provides a centralized password storage location (i.e. vault) – with only a master password to remember.
    2. It is able to automatically generate strong passwords for all of your accounts requiring a password.
    3. It is equipped with strong encryption, which protects your vault.
    4. It can simultaneously support multiple devices.
    5. It offers the ability to safely store other sensitive information, such as credit card numbers, in the vault.

    There are several good, highly-recommended options to choose from such as LastPass, Keeper, Dashlane and 1Password. Be sure to research each of the tools you are considering before making your decision to ensure that you are comfortable with the features and capabilities of the password manager you ultimately pick.

    Action Items:

      1. Research and choose a reliable Password Manager.
      2. Choose a long and complex Master Password (Remember, with a Password Manager, you only need to remember one).
      3. Be sure to take precautions to remember your new Master Password such as selecting one that has meaning to you but does not necessarily lend itself to hackers.
        Note: This is important because most providers have little or NO ability to assist you with finding/resetting a lost or forgotten Master Password.
      4. Begin using your Password Manager as soon as possible and migrate all of your existing passwords to it.

      HBK can assist you with questions on this or any other Cyber Security topic. For more information, contact William Heaven at WHeaven@hbkcpa.com.

About the Author(s)

William Heaven is a Senior Manager in HBK’s Information Technology (IT) Department and works out of the firm’s corporate office in Youngstown, Ohio. He specializes in cyber security, IT security, external IT audit, internal IT audit, IT consulting, software Development, IT governance, PCI-DSS, supply chain, system implementations and e-Commerce and has worked for a wide range of industries, including the Public Accounting field. Bill is a certified public accountant, a certified information system auditor, and a certified supply chain professional. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Computer Science from Kent State University. Bill is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants (OSCPA), the Information System Audit and Control Association (ISACA) and the Canfield Chapter of Rotary International.

Hill, Barth & King LLC has prepared this material for informational purposes only. Any tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or under any state or local tax law or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions regarding the matter.

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