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Protect your accounts with a password manager

Protect your accounts with a password manager

Expert tips from the Australian Cyber Security Centre.

We use passwords to protect the most private parts of our lives, from our money to our businesses and even the appliances in our smart homes.

Remembering numerous unique passwords can be a real challenge, particularly when every account has different password requirements.

While it’s common for people to reuse the same password across multiple accounts, this is not a safe practice. Re-using passwords can make private information more accessible to cybercriminals. If one of your account passwords is compromised, a cybercriminal will often try that password against your other accounts—the flow-on effect and potential damage can be significant.

Cybercriminals are increasingly targeting members of the property industry – lawyers and conveyancers – as well as the homebuyer and sellers they represent.

These criminals seek to intercept the transfer of funds and exchange of account details required for a property settlement. It only takes one compromised password for a cybercriminal to secure the opening they need.

If you’re a member of the sector, or seeking to buy or sell your home, you need to re-double your efforts in protecting your passwords. The Australian Cyber Security Centre has expert knowledge and simple guidance on how to do so.

Protect yourself with a password manager

A password manager is an application that securely stores and generates passwords, so you can have strong and unique passwords for all your accounts.

With a password manager, you only need to remember the one master password – and the password manager takes care of the rest. Think of a password manager as a safe and the master password as the key.

Tips and tricks for password mangers

  • The strongest type of password, which is also easy to remember, is a passphrase. Passphrases combine four or more random words, for example, ‘crystal onion clay pretzel’. See the ACSC’s Passphrase Guide for more information.
  • Turn on multi-factor authentication (MFA) to increase the security of your password manager. If a cybercriminal learns your master password, it will be much more difficult for them to access your other passwords with MFA enabled.
  • When choosing a password manager, do your research to ensure the vendor has a good reputation and their product has strong security features, strong privacy features, and is maintained with regular security updates.
  • Some password managers have a ‘remember me’ feature. If you select ‘remember me’ the password manager will trust the device you are using and ask you for your master password less frequently. Do not use the ‘remember me’ feature for your password manager if you are on a public computer or if you share the device with other users.

For more information on password managers, visit https://www.cyber.gov.au/passphrases.

The ACSC regularly publishes alerts and advisories, threat reports, and cyber security guidance, including ‘how to use a password manager to help individuals and organisations uplift their cyber hygiene and cyber security’.

Learn more at www.cyber.gov.au.

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