By | Sarah Keane
Verizon’s 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report stated that 85% of data breaches involved human error, and 81% of breaches involved compromised passwords. It’s clear that passwords are a vital part of cybersecurity, yet the current state of password security leaves a lot to be desired.
How can you strengthen your account security? What software will help you improve your passwords? Today, let’s take a look at a few software programs that will help you keep your accounts safe, as well as protect yourself and your company from data breaches.
Tools That You Can Use to Secure Your Accounts
Back during the early days of the internet, it was common for people to write their passwords down and keep them near their computers. However, as the years go by, this practice becomes less and less prevalent, thanks to the invention of secure password storage solutions like password managers. That said, many users still opt to use weak and ineffective passwords—an issue that has caused countless data breaches.
If you want to use strong passwords but don’t want to write them down or store them in a Word document—both of these methods being considered insecure and unsafe—use a password manager. With a password manager, you can easily store all of your passwords in a safe, encrypted program that you can access at any time. No one else can access it; they would need your master password.
Some password managers even come with random password generators, so you don’t have to take the time to create your own strong password. After all, there’s no stronger password than the one you don’t even know.
Multi-Factor Authentication Software
In 2019, Microsoft warned users that its cloud services were facing over 300 million automated attacks every day. The only way users could protect their accounts against 99.9% of those attacks was to enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) on their accounts. The same advice rings true today.
Multi-factor authentication, also known as Two-Factor Authentication (2FA), adds an additional security step to the login process. That additional step typically involves a one-time passcode sent to the user’s phone or email address, though many accounts nowadays support 2FA apps like Authy.
Usage of 2FA/MFA has only gone up since the late 2010s. There’s no reason not to enable 2FA for your accounts, not if you care for your accounts’ security.
Compromised Password Scanners
There are plenty of reasons why a password may become compromised. If the password in question was weak, a simple brute-force attack could compromise the password in minutes. But even strong passwords can be exposed via data breaches.
There’s no guarantee that your passwords will stay safe. As a result, it’s essential to check up on the health of your passwords, and you can do so by visiting sites like haveibeenpwned.com, websites that scan for any compromised passwords related to your email address.
These websites aren’t perfect; there’s no guarantee they will catch every compromised password. However, they give you a chance to change any compromised passwords before they can be used to access your accounts illegally.
Other Tools You Can Use to Protect Your Privacy
Encrypted Email Services
Gmail and Outlook may be the most popular email providers available today, but they aren’t the most secure. Depending on your wants and needs, you may want to start using an encrypted email service like PreVeil and ProtonMail.
These services differ from your everyday email services by promising full end-to-end encryption, ensuring that no one can steal data contained within your emails. They may be considered overkill for some users, but they can be useful for businesses or individuals that handle valuable data.
Online Tracker Blockers
Plenty of websites probe users for their browsing history, habits, and preferences. According to Ghostery, some may not even tell the user they’re doing it but will instead deploy trackers that collect the information without alerting the user.
To avoid falling victim to online trackers, you can install an anti-tracking browser extension like Privacy Badger or an adblocker like uBlock Origin.
Viruses, worms, spyware, and other types of malware put your privacy at risk. The problem is, malware can come from anywhere—any website, program, or link can contain malware. To ensure the safety of your device and the data it holds, install an antivirus program that can scan for malware and alert you when any is detected.
Users need to take great care when it comes to account security. Not only should they hop on to the latest software trends that will help secure their accounts, but they should also look to indirect ways to secure their data, such as encryption methods, anti-virus programs, and more.