The majority of the things you use require passwords, and it seems like every other day there’s a security breach or a time limit set on your passwords that causes them to expire. Experts say that it’s a good idea to change your password consistently, but that usually requires a lot of work, and it requires you changing the password for your home and work PC, smartphone, and tablets.
Password managers are becoming a popular tool in online security, and they keep you from having to remember dozens of passwords. Password managers essentially create the password for you and remember it across multiple devices.
Strong Password Run Down
Before, a secure password got considered as something that had at least one upper case letter, a lower-case letter, a number, and at least eight characters, but that doesn’t reign true anymore. The majority of password cracking programs that are used by hackers throughout the world can decode eight-character passwords in a minute or less. What you think could be a strong password, such as C0mput3r01, could be cracked in milliseconds.
Today, what seems to be the most important with password creation is its length. You might find it hard to believe, but passwords such as carnationstreet, which is 15 characters, is safer than something like 7M*rfPt1. Reports from the password security website state that a password of 20-22 random characters could take password-cracking software up to a billion years to hack.
How to Use a Password Manager
Password managers are usually small programs that can get installed on your computer and other devices that store passwords. When you’re using a computer, it is typically a browser plugin, but tablets and smartphones have password manager apps.
To use the password manager, you only need to remember one password, and that’s the one you use to open it. Because of that, when you go to a website that requires login credentials, it fills in the username and password for you. If you want to change the password for a website or create a new account, the password manager creates a new one between 20 and 22 characters. Some password managers are free, and others cost a small fee for advanced features. Your login information gets encrypted within the password manager once connected to the internet.
Types of Password Managers
Before deciding on using a password manager, it’s important that you determine whether you would prefer to have your login information stored in the cloud, or stored locally. Whichever option you chose, both remain encrypted. Whichever you feel safest with is a matter of personal preference.
- 1Password: Supported by Mac, Windows, Android, and iOS, 1Password is a password manager that stores your passwords locally, and offers cloud storage. Other features that 1Password offers include the ability to sync passwords using Wi-Fi, share a password file on your local network, and using Dropbox or iCloud.
- Dashlane: Dashlane is another password manager that gives the option of storing the password locally or on the cloud. It has a two-step embedded authentication process to register each of your devices and provides an email confirmation. The Dashlane free services let you use it on only one device, while the premium service lets you sync it to all of your devices, share more than five files, and get customer support.
- KeePass: One of the more technical password managers is KeePass. By default, it does store your passwords locally but there is an additional option to store it in the cloud. The manager does require some technical know-how because you are going to need to install a plugin to sync your account across devices or write your automated scripts. The manager can get used with Google Docs, Microsoft OneDrive, and DropBox.
- LastPass: As one of the most popular password managers, LastPass stores all encrypted passwords in the cloud and offers both free and premium services. It supports Android, Windows, and Apple operating systems. With the free version, multiple device synchronizations is available.
- SplashID: The SplashID password manager is one of few that supports BlackBerry, in addition to Apple, Windows, and Android. To have a single device managed, the account is free, but to share across multiple devices, there is a small monthly or annual fee. SplashID comes with a feature that enables you to choose if you want a certain login to be stored in the cloud, or locally. For example, you could keep less important passwords stored in the cloud, but your more personal and sensitive passwords stored locally.
Using a password manager isn’t for everyone. Many people believe that the only way to keep passwords secure is to keep them stored in your mind. If you forget them, you could always do a password reset. However, with how many passwords you have, and how many different requirements each website and account has, it doesn’t seem feasible to store that many passwords in your mind. If you write them in a book, you could lose it as well. If you choose to go with a password manager, ensure that you’re doing your research and the manager that you choose has a high trust rating. The options listed above are some of the best.