Master password definition
A master password is a single password that gives the user access to a complete set of different services, systems, or applications. It’s often used in password management applications. A master password is like a master key that opens all doors in a building.
As with all elements of cybersecurity, using a master password requires careful management. It should be complex and unique, regularly changed, and never shared. Two-factor authentication should also be enabled wherever possible for added security.
Master password uses
- Password management. Password managers use a master password to encrypt and secure all other stored passwords. Users only need to remember the master password.
- Multiple system access. In enterprise systems, a master password might be used to access different systems or applications. This reduces the need for managing various credentials.
Master password benefits
- Simplicity. A master password allows you to manage multiple passwords with ease. You only need to remember one complex password.
- Security. When used with a password manager, a master password can help use unique, complex passwords for each site or service without memorizing each one.
Master password risks
- Single point of failure. If the master password is compromised, all systems or data it protects are at risk. It’s like losing a master key – the person who finds it can open all the doors. Cybercriminals often target master passwords, knowing the level of access they provide.
- Forgetfulness. If you forget the master password, especially for a password manager, retrieving your other passwords can be very difficult or even impossible.