Using Password Managers to Stay Safe Online
Whether it is posting in social media, reading email, banking, or any number of other things, if you are online, you will be using a password to access your account. Some people are really good about using secure password practices but many of us remember passwords by writing them down on a Post-It Note, using easy-to-guess passwords or reusing old passwords. These practices leave our accounts vulnerable in the cyber world. One thing that can help us keep our online accounts safe is a password manager.
Password managers do pretty much exactly as you would expect: they manage passwords. To get started, a “strong” password is created for the password manager then the password manager provides tools for creating and storing your passwords. The password manager creates unique and hard to guess passwords thereby increasing the security in the associated accounts. Along with the password, password managers keep login information for each website including the username or email address you use. So when you log into a website, like Facebook for example, it will remember your email and the password and automatically put both into their respective fields. It is critical to secure the computer that is entrusted with your password manager: a username and password should be required to get access to the computer!
Another benefit of password managers is to have your passwords available on multiple devices. Several password managers have an app for both IOS and Android so you can also have access to your passwords on your phone as well and the app can be shared across different computers too. If you have a laptop and desktop you will have access to the passwords in both places. If you lose your device you can just change the password of your password manager and the rest of your passwords will still be safe behind that new password. Some password managers will even allow you to remove a device from its list requiring that device to be logged back into with your password to your password manager.
There are many different password managers. Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Edge all have built in password managers that work for storing password, but don’t offer some of the other features. A few other password managers offer better features and some have free versions.
- Dashlane– Dashlane has some amazing features, like changing several passwords at once. However, the free version of Dashlane limits the password storage to 50 sets of credentials.
- LastPass– The free edition of LastPass has unlimited devices, and even a security challenge that helps determine how secure you are with your online accounts.
- Best Security: Keeper – Keeper also has some storage for files and documents that you want to keep safe. The limiting factor on the free version is that it is limited to a single device