Never forget your password again
Use a Password Manager!
I get calls every week asking, “Tina, what’s my password for (insert various software or websites here). With all the passwords we have to remember these days (your bank, your e-marketing site, Amazon, Google, etc.) it can become a full-time task keeping track of them all. A password manager will take that to do off your list.
Basic password managers have just one function: they save your login information for different sites so you don’t have to. This is a feature available in any modern Web browser, like Google Chrome.
Cloud vs. Local Password Managers
The type of password manager you should get will all depend on your budget and the level of security you are looking for. Cloud based managers are a bit less secure since they are offsite. Locally hosted managers are a bit more secure since a person will have to be on your device to breach the manager. But either form of a manager does the same thing. First, they encrypt all your login information and other types of data that you might often hand over to a website, like your address, or bank or credit card information. This allows you to not only keep your personal data secure, but to also organize the dizzying array of passwords that many of us have to manage. Second, many password managers generate unique, complicated passwords that are extremely difficult to crack. Through these two functions, password managers ensure that you have the strongest possible password, and do the hard task of “remembering” your passwords for you. Any password manager you use ideally performs both of these security functions.
Which password managers do you recommend?
LastPass is one of the best password managers available. And to sweeten the deal, it’s free! A pay version also exists, which gives you more features for a yearly fee. LastPass is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux as well as iOS, Android, and Windows Phone platforms. Once you’ve set up your master password, LastPass will import all of your saved login credentials (usernames and passwords) from Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera, and Safari. It then allows you to delete all of this information from your computer to keep it secure. After that, all you need to remember is your super-secure LastPass password.
If you’re looking for a good middle-of-the-road solution, you might try KeePass, which is free, open-source, and stores your encrypted data locally. The downside here – there’s always a downside – is that KeePass doesn’t always integrate well with all browsers.
Are password managers still vulnerable?
Absolutely. Because your computer is being controlled by a user it is vulnerable. Users contract viruses and such that can breach your computer, its security, and ultimately your password manager. And because you must use a master password for most password managers, an obvious entry point remains if someone gets a hold of your master password.
Bottom line is, if you have trouble remembering all your passwords then a password manager program would be ideal for you. Just make sure that you create a strong master password and don’t give it to anyone.