Last week you may have seen some worrying news: researchers probing the darkest corners of the underground web found a secret trove containing 1.4 billion breached usernames and passwords. Yes, that’s right: 1.4 BILLION. Yours might very well be among them, and if you reuse the same password across numerous accounts, they may all now be exposed to the hackers. Passwords have been a headache for users to manage for years, so why not use this as an opportunity to improve your online security and lock out attackers for good?
Trend Micro Password Manager takes the pain out of password security and management, saving time online and putting you back in control. Let’s see how.
The dark web discovery last week should be a wake-up call for anyone who uses the Internet and struggles to manage their online passwords. The 41GB database that was discovered was found on a criminal underground forum. What’s more, the username/password combos were stored in plain text and in such a way as to make it easy for hackers to search and find what they’re looking for.
Most of the breached passwords in the database have so far been verified to be true and come from hundreds of data breaches at sites such as LinkedIn, MySpace, Last.FM, and Netflix. Around 200 million had never even been available to view in clear text before. What does this mean? That hackers can simply access the database, do a quick search, and start trying to log in to other people’s online accounts.
A lot of the user names and passwords on there might be old — perhaps for sites and services that you no longer use. But because netizens frequently reuse them across numerous accounts, they could still be extremely valuable for hackers, to hijack many of the accounts still in use today.
In short, the database provides cyber-criminals with a fast track to fraud and identity theft.
The problem with passwords
The discovery has highlighted a long-running problem with passwords. They worked just fine back in the early days of the Internet when all we had to remember was a log-in for our email account and possibly one or two others. Things have changed completely since then. Even over a decade ago, Microsoft claimed that the average Internet user had 25 online accounts to manage. Just imagine how much higher that figure is today.
Roughly 80 percent of Americans are Internet shoppers and we don’t think twice about opening new online accounts–left, right, and center. After all, saving our details in these accounts makes life easier, right? Well, it does, until that account is hacked and your payment details end up in the hands of the bad guys.
The problem with all of these accounts is that they need username and password protection. In an attempt to make them harder for criminals to crack or guess, many sites now have stricter requirements for password creation that involve using mixed case letters, numbers, special characters, and a minimum password length. That makes it challenging to compose something you’ll remember without fail each time you log on.
So, what do we do? We end up using the same memorable password for numerous sites and accounts. Research indicates that less than a quarter (22%) of US consumers use different passwords for every online account. This means that just one of those log-ins needs to be stolen and suddenly the attackers have the keys to unlock your entire digital world.
So, what can be done?
Making life easy … and more secure
Fortunately, there’s a solution: use a password manager. Here at Trend Micro, we’ve created Trend Micro Password Manager—which is available as a stand-alone tool, but also comes bundled with Trend Micro Maximum and Premium Security. Trend Micro Password Manager overcomes the aforementioned challenges and takes the pain out of managing an ever growing list of login credentials. Here’s how:
• It helps you generate highly secure, unique, and tough-to-crack passwords for each of your online accounts.
• It securely stores and automatically inputs your login credentials into your account logins when web browsing, so you don’t have to remember them.
• It provides an easy way for you to change passwords. If you’ve used any more than once or any do end up being leaked or stolen, Password Manager can help you update all your accounts with strong, unique passwords.
• It makes it quick and easy to manage your passwords from any location, on any device or browser, including a Mac — and it can be opened at the touch of your finger on Android and iOS devices.
• It helps you import the passwords saved in your browser, which is not a safe place for them.
• It identifies and reports weak passwords.
No matter how well you think you’ve secured your digital life, the organizations you interact with online will continue to get breached, spilling your log-ins in the process. Trend Micro Password Manager puts you back in control, saving you time and effort, while keeping those all-important passwords under lock and key.
Go to the Trend Micro Password Manager website for more information. Download it for free on your Windows, Mac, Android, or iOS device for up to 5 passwords, or buy a subscription for unlimited passwords use.