In today’s modern world the internet has become ubiquitous. Today everyone from all fields of life like students, government employees and agencies, education institutes, private sectors, banks, hospitals and even housewife use internet for different purposes like online learning, research, communication, teaching, data communication and shopping etc. Anyone with fundamental Internet and IT knowledge understands that internet users need an identification mechanism to use some or all of Internet services. The most common identification mechanism is username and password. Although there exist other identification systems but my focus will be on username and password identification mechanism.
If you are user of several internet applications which requires username and passwords for identification like email services (yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail etc.), social networking (Facebook, Twitter, Orkut), Credit card for online shopping and ATM etc. then it may be difficult and tricky for you to organize all your usernames and passwords to make you able to retrieve them easily when required. Beside easy username and password retrieval your password needs security and protection to prevent unauthorized access to your accounts / applications. You need to make sure that every application’s username and password is different and difficult enough for others to guess and easy for you to remember. Also your system of managing and organizing passwords must be resistant enough to tolerate any unauthorized access attack from hackers, key loggers, spywares etc.
Obviously the above requirements and demands to ensure maximum username and password security are not possible manually. You need to have a password manager to organize all your usernames and passwords efficiently and competently. Now you may think what is password manager? And how it works? Well Password Management tool is a software package or web application that stores different usernames and passwords of a user and provide management, organization, protection and maintenance of user passwords and usernames.
After knowing what is password manager? You need to know how password managers work. Well Password managers will store all your usernames and passwords in a database or file that is in encrypted form. It means that when you need to retrieve your password you need to decrypt the password to use it. This encryption and decryption process is not your headache. What you need to do is just input your username and password, save it and the rest of things are upon password manager. Many password managers store URL of login page along with username and password. Whenever the user opens the specific URL, the password manager will fill the username and password automatically and logs in. Therefore the users don’t need to enter the username and passwords. Such types of password manager are resistant to key loggers (software that records key pressed by user and send it to remote server), but what will happen if someone access your computer and open login page? Simply your password manager will fail. For such kind of situation some password managers require setting a master password and prompts user for a correct master password for automatic username and password entry. This type of manager is secure to some extend but still it is vulnerable to threats. For example what will happen if the master password gets compromised? Simply a compromised master password will leak all other passwords stored in password manager. The solution to this threat is to use multi-factor protection system. The example of multi-factor protection system is ATM. When you want to draw cash from ATM you need to insert your card and then enter valid PIN code. If your PIN code is known to others they can’t draw cash because they don’t have your card. And if they get your card they don’t have PIN code. So they can’t draw cash. Similarly some password managers require installing the software into USB and require inserting USB plus master password for successful log in.
After knowing what is password manager? Its importance, working and types you can now choose the right password manager from wide variety of available password managers with features that meet your requirements. I hope your username and password will remain protected while using password managers and you will never get hacked.