The first computer password was created by Fernando Corbato in 1961 at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and enabled multiple people to share a computer system. Each individual created a personal password to access the computer, and their usage time was tracked accordingly. All their passwords were stored in the system.
One year later, Ph.D. researcher Allan Scherr logged onto the system for his work, but was only allowed four hours a week. Being a researcher, he delved deep and found a way to print out all the stored passwords. Voila! No more time limits for Dr. Scherr.
The first hacker—and hacking—came into existence one year after passwords were born.
Why Passwords Need to be Secure
Today, there are more than 90 billion passwords being used. From personal online platforms and accounts ranging from credit cards to Facebook to movie channels, to business accounts that store sensitive information, trade secrets, and financial information, passwords are an inevitable part of our everyday lives.
In 2016, 63 percent of data breaches were the result of weak or stolen passwords. But keeping all your information safe from computer hackers requires more than strict security standards and password policies, especially if you own a business. Why? Because online criminals prefer to hack into business accounts since they contain more data-rich information than personal ones.
So, what’s a business owner to do?
Enter the Password Manager
If you’re a business owner, a password manager is a crucial tool in safekeeping all your corporate login information. Password managers allow you to store all your passwords in one safe, secure place. Password managers will also generate secure passwords for you, save them, and autofill online forms. Think of it as a vault that holds all your passwords—and all you need to remember is one unique master “key” or password, to access them all.
Free vs. Fee
Google “password manager” and you’ll find a plethora of choices—some with fees and some, free. As a business owner, security should be one of your top priorities so do your homework and choose wisely, even if it comes with a price tag.
Neil J. Rubenking of PCMag compared free password managers and rated them from one to five stars. Those that received five stars include LastPass 4.0 and LogMeOnce Password Management Suite Premium 5.2.
Rubenking also rated “The Best Password Managers of 2017,” comparing 10 of them by features and capabilities. His top two picks were Dashlane 4 ($39.99), which supports seven languages and can automatically change passwords on 500 websites, and LastPass 4.0 Premium ($12), with enhanced multifactor automation, application password management, and password sharing groups.
Whichever one you select, rest assured you’re taking the right step in securing your company’s data from hackers. The phrase “better safe than sorry” has never been truer than when we’re online.