1Password: Stop being outright dangerous with your passwords and online security

Computers are much smarter than us now. Using your first pet’s name followed by your year of birth stopped being sufficient as a password about a decade ago. There’s only way to really stay safe online these days: a password manager like 1Password.

It’s 2018. If you’re still under the impression that putting a number at the end of your password, or switching Es for 3s or As for @s in your password, you’re probably very susceptible to having your passwords cracked.

This is the age where computers are now able to guess 350 billion passwords a second. 350 billion. Every. Single. Second. That means that if you have an eight-character password using only lowercase numbers and letters, a computer can guess every possible combination in about 8 seconds.

And of course, there’s been enough high profile hacks in recent years that there’s databases full of login credentials for billions of accounts. If you’ve used the same password on multiple websites and your login credentials have been uncovered on any single website, a would-be hacker potentially has access to all of your online accounts.

With computer power doubling every 2 years, computers are getting very powerful very quickly. The trouble is, if you’re relying on your brain to remember all of your passwords, your brain isn’t getting too many upgrades in its processing power from year to year, no matter how many acai smoothies you drink. You’re fighting a losing battle.

This is where a password manager like 1Password comes in. I’ve been using 1Password for 4 or 5 years now and it’s come a long way, making huge strides in creating a seamless workflow so that you can remain secure online without any additional effort.

What is 1Password?

1Password is a password manager and here’s a quick analogy of how it works. In the real world, if you have something valuable, like a bundle of money, or a priceless piece of jewellery, you might keep it in a bank vault. It’s hard to break into a bank vault, so most people would agree that it’s OK to trust that our valuables are very safe in there. However, it’s not impossible to get into the bank vault of course; in fact, the bank staff do it daily and for them, it’s a pretty easy process because they have the tools (keys, codes, fingerprints etc.) that they need to get inside. Once the door is open, they can get to everything inside.

Now, let’s apply that analogy to 1Password. 1Password lets you keep all of your passwords and logins in digital vaults. These vaults can only be opened by entering a single master password. Once you enter that password, you have access to all of these really obscure, difficult passwords for all of your online logins that you couldn’t possibly remember otherwise. I’ll let the guys at 1Password explain it a little more concisely:

The master password should be difficult to crack, but easy to remember. A great way to get such a password is by using diceware, which creates a random string of words, to create a password like:

tweed reentry yummy craving untrue jogger

or

concerned departed ergonomic expensive bucket terminal

With a few minutes of practice, these are pretty easy to remember (especially when you’re using them every day), but it would take a very strong computer about 3,500 years to crack, after which, I doubt you’ll be caring about the strength of your password any more.

Using 1Password in your everyday life

Now that you know how 1Password works, working it into your everyday life is very easy with all of the tools that they now have. There’s a browser extension for all of the major browsers, an app for all smartphones and the integration is really seamless.

For example, most of my passwords end up in Chrome, so with the browser extension installed, whenever I encounter a login page, I press the 1Password keyboard shortcut of ⌘ + \. If my vault is locked because I just logged on to my computer, I enter my master password and then 1Password fills in the login form. If I’d already unlocked my vault, it simply fills in the login. As long as my vault is unlocked, it will fill in every login I want with the press of two keys, even if those logins are 64 character passwords with numbers, special characters, and upper- and lower-case letters like:

$5″C8/PRBe,ct~y!UpmjwvX{yxX!NautsY:*b+C;Wx$`<kP)}q48uW[ABE2DG7}k

That would take in excess of a trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion years to crack by the way. To see it in action, check out this video:

How about when you’re on to go? No worries – the iPhone (or Android) app still does all of the heavy lifting. You can either continue to use your master password, or you can substitute that for your fingerprint or Face ID if you so choose. Login form -> Face ID -> logged in. Boom. You can see it in action for yourself:

1Password is available on pretty much every platform and makes managing your online life so much more secure without making it any more difficult. In fact, if I may say so, it may well make it easier.

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Author: Dave

Dave is many things. Most importantly, he's a husband and a father to Ellie and Jack. Almost as important, he's British (though he lives in Florida). Following on from there, he's a WordPress developer and civil engineer, has an unhealthy love of hummus, is vegan, likes cider, wants to travel to Iceland and Japan, loves solving puzzles and is a realist.

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