Keeping your PC secure is one of the most important things you can do, especially if you work from it. In the field of cybersecurity, there’s always a debate over how to do this best – with no stress and less cost.
Currently, password managers are seen as the best alternative, though not the only one. Here’s a brief rundown of why password managers are so popular right now but also the alternative tech that’s on the rise.
Password Managers Are Important
If you didn’t know, password managers are apps that generate and store passwords and automatically apply them to linked accounts. That way, you don’t need to remember them yourself. You only need to remember the master password – the password that gets you into the manager itself.
Nowadays, we use passwords for everything. It’s not just important government and banking accounts that we need to keep track of, now we also use password-protected accounts to access online entertainment in its many forms.
Entire industries have sprung up around our desire for entertainment, namely streaming, video-sharing, and iGaming, which include online casinos and places where users can play live casino games in real time. Your access to a live blackjack lobby is protected on the site’s end through their own security measures and on your end through password protection.
Fortunately, these services have risen to the challenge and keep customers safe. The most common password error is on the user side, by having a password that’s too simple or can be pieced together. Password managers nip that problem in the bud, though your master password can still suffer from the same problems. That’s why you should follow those classic password rules to make yours as strong as possible.
Password Managers Aren’t Infallible
Password managers are a great solution to a mounting problem – the endless reams of passwords we need to remember for all our accounts. However, it’s not the only option out there.
Also, some have decried a recent trend in password manager software – that being SMS-based two-factor authentication. 2FA is a great tool that proves your identity by using another device that belongs to you. However, the faster and more convenient SMS authentication is leakier than its email counterpart. It’s possible for bad actors to hijack SMS data, either by using a mirroring app that can track incoming messages or by rerouting the messages to their own device entirely.
So, there is some consternation surrounding password managers. If you use one, get a good master and avoid SMS 2FA if you can. 2FA is a great technology when used right, with Google and Microsoft offering their own free authenticator apps that work on your phone.
Passkey Authentication & How It Works
There aren’t just people who dislike password managers out there – there are people who dislike passwords too. That’s where the passkey comes in, a pioneering tech that has been embraced by the likes of Google and Apple. Put simply, passkeys are entirely digital, so there’s no word for you to remember. Instead, it relies on an authentication process where sites can verify your identity with minimal input from the user. They have been described as digital fingerprints.
This works through cryptography. The passkey is a pair of related keys that recognize one another. The private key is stored on your device while the public key, which isn’t as valuable, is sent out to communicate with sites when you log into them. If the keys match, you’re in. Pairs are generated for each account too, so every login is unique. The private key is never exposed to bad actors because it’s stored on your device and even when interacting with it, websites and other services don’t know its details.
Only time will tell if passwords go extinct. In the meantime, password managers are further reaching and only require one remembered password, effectively eliminating most human concerns. With society becoming more digitized and bad actors becoming more capable, we’d expect passkeys to take off in the near future as a viable alternative to passwords and their managers.