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What Is a Master Password?

by Emma Wilson

If you’re a person who takes their online security seriously, you’ve likely heard of the term “master password.” But why exactly is it necessary, and how does one go about choosing the right one?

Well, these questions are exactly what we’ll be answering in today’s post. We will be talking all about master passwords: what they are and why they’re important.

What Is a Master Password?

Master password, in its most basic form, refers to a username and password combination that acts as a gateway into another website. This is usually done by having a master password in which you can enter your username and get into a secured area–your account.

Something that many online users fail to understand is the importance of choosing the right master password. Nowadays, there are so many online hacks and other malicious attacks carried out using stolen passwords.

The Benefits of a Master Password

There are many benefits to using a master password. Let’s take a look at the most important ones:

Password Security

Master passwords can prevent hackers from getting into your social media and other accounts. The reason for this is that most people have their email attached to their social media accounts, which is how they reset passwords for these sites when you lose your login information.

This means that if a hacker gains access to your email address, then they immediately gain access to all your social media accounts and the contents within them.

A master password is a great way to secure passwords without having to remember them all. Master passwords are popular on password management software. But you have to do your due diligence with these.

As convenient as they are, no one software is 100% foolproof. For example, an “offline” tool like Keepass is still hackable if your computer’s infected with a keylogger.

Pair With Two-Factor Authentication

To maximize the security of a master password, you should always apply Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) where appropriate. It gives an additional layer, often in the form of a code or even a physical security key.

Thus, if someone does get access to your master password, they would still need to be in your presence to activate the second level of confirmation.

Of course, this doesn’t make you prone to someone holding you to ransom in person, otherwise known as a $5 wrench attack. But it certainly stops hackers not in your presence from accessing your valuable data.

Data Protection of Confidential Data

Ensuring compliant data protection is one of the biggest cybersecurity benefits out there. Data protection refers to anything from how you store your data–on a hard drive, in the cloud, or on a USB–to who has access to it within your office or even how secure it is when traveling.

If you have sensitive data—anything that could be used to blackmail someone or steal their identity—you need to make sure that this information is adequately protected. This is where master passwords come into play.

Backup Your Data

A master password is also a good way to protect data in general. Imagine, for instance, that you’re on a train and your phone is hacked and stolen.

You’d likely lose all of your banking information if you don’t have an authentic backup. However, using a master password will ensure that it won’t fall into the wrong hands should this ever happen.

Allow Financial Payments

Master passwords are also good practice for when you use your phone as a wallet. Many digital wallets like Google Pay and Apple Pay are being used more and more, but they contain all of your information. Losing this can result in data theft, not just to your credit or debit cards, but to all the other personal data that you store on there as well.

A good master password puts a barrier between your information and attacks from hackers. Plus, it can also stop scammers on public transport from stealing your metadata through an RFID reader, where the reader picks up the details from your NFC chip in your phone.

Choosing the Right Master Password

There are several points to bear in mind when coming up with and using a master password.

Be Safe, Not Sorry

It’s important not to store your master password anywhere on your computer where hackers can access it. Single-sign-on helps with this issue as it uses your device as a security key. You can keep it written down on a piece of paper stored somewhere secure, but make sure you don’t have it with you whenever you’re using it.

Don’t Make It Easy to Guess

Most people find this the hardest thing to get their heads around. How can you have a complicated password that’s easy to remember without writing it down anywhere? Well, there are a couple of tricks you can use.

  • Use a mixture of characters, numbers, and symbols
  • Use a verified, secure random password generator
  • Use memory techniques to recall the password

Never Share Your Password With Anyone

If you need to share your password with someone, the first thing you should do is question the validity of that request. Suppose there’s a genuine reason for them to receive your master password, then great. Otherwise, think about whether you should be sharing or asking for it in the first place.

The same logic goes for anyone trying to log into your computer. If they say they need it to help you with something, that’s their problem, not yours. There is no real reason why they need it, and so if you don’t offer it up voluntarily, there shouldn’t be any problems with this.

Don’t Underestimate the Master Password

Protecting your online information is only part of the puzzle. It would help if you protected your computer because that’s where you store all of your sensitive data.

A master password is a good way to ensure that this data stays safe and secure. Once you start using one, it’s a great way to improve your online accounts’ security.

Now try out our password manager today and sign up to see what you’re missing!