You may think you’re doing a great job keeping your passwords safe because you’re not using your kid’s birthday, but hackers are becoming more sophisticated, so we need to do more to protect our accounts. That’s easy to say, but now that you have a faster internet connection, you’ll be able to utilize a wide range of new services from streaming, to gaming, to smart home devices and security to name a few. When you’re opening new accounts every day to read articles or shop, it’s tempting to cut corners to avoid the dreaded “password reset.” If you think a password manager is not worth the bother, you probably don’t realize just how insecure your data actually is.
So, You Think You Don’t Need a Password Manager
With so many sites having specific requirements such as “must have an uppercase and lowercase letter,” “must have a number,” and “must have a special character,” it’s tempting to come up with a password that satisfies it all such as “#CatInHat2000,” using it for all of your accounts. This is one of the worst things you can do, because if a hacker gets into one of those accounts, such as the hobbyist blog you signed up for yesterday, they will now have access to all your accounts. Many sites are now recommending that you use their computer generated passwords which Chrome and other browsers will save for you, but if you want to log into the account from somewhere else, how are you going to remember “$F%@[email protected]#&^?” You could scribble down the passwords in a little notebook, but what if you lose it?
How Password Managers Work
You may be familiar with the bare bones password managers such as Apple’s “Keychain” or Google’s “Smart Lock” that will fill in your username and password for sites when using their product, but password managers offer much more protection and many more options. Password managers can produce the strongest passwords and can also help you organize your credit card information, billing addresses, bank account information and other financials, enabling you to have all this information in one place, protected with a single password or encryption key. The best password managers will automatically fill this information when requested by a website, saving a great deal of time and energy, so the small learning curve to install a password manager is well worth it.
Which Password Manager is Right for Me?
For only $36 a year, 1Password will work on Macs, PC’s, tablets and phones, advising you to have strong passwords, and making suggestions. It uses a decryption key, rather than a master password, creating the strongest possible security. That’s why it’s rated #1 by Wired Magazine. Bitwardenis a free open source password manager that’s surprisingly sleek, and offers one of the best form-filling capabilities of all the choices. An upgrade to their premium version is only $10 a year, and dwell worth it. Dashlane 6 is the most full-featured of the options, but that comes at a cost. A unique feature is the ability to store all your data on your own devices, lessening the chance of a breach. They offer a free 30 day trial, and the cost after that is $60 a year for Premium and $120 a year for Premium Plus.