How Password Managers Help Keep Your Digital Life Secure
Most of us have trouble keeping our online passwords straight, especially when it comes to creating and remembering multiple strong and unique passwords. With various security rules for capitalization, numbers, letters and random characters for different sites and apps, it’s easy to see why millions of people around the world struggle to remember which password accesses what — and why they might only use one or a few passwords, shared among various destinations. And if you, like many others, are re-using passwords for some of your accounts, it only takes a single incident of a criminal hacking one site or app in order to potentially access all of your accounts.
To help solve the problem of keeping your passwords strong and remembering them all, a handful of companies have developed password manager software applications designed to accomplish four key benefits:
- They allow you to remember just one master password to access your other passwords for all sites and applications.
- They can auto-generate strong, random passwords with a mix of symbols and letters so the passwords cannot easily be guessed. They can also be used to rate the strength of passwords you currently use.
- They provide the added security of having any personal information and passwords stored in the manager to be encrypted, depending on the password service you select.
- You no longer have to write passwords down on paper or store them in a digital text document, both of which can significantly increase your vulnerability to a potential hack or criminal activity.
Pick a Password Manager You Trust
Web users have many options to choose from when picking a password manager. They tend to differ in a few core areas. For instance, some password managers store your passwords on a remote server, while others store them on your computer.
Remote storage can be a plus because it makes it simple to use your password manager across several devices, such as a laptop, tablet and smartphone, but they can also expose your data to potential data breaches.
Password managers that store passwords on your own computer are arguably safer from remote hacking, as long as your physical computer is secure. The downside of this option is that you cannot easily access your passwords on other devices.
Import Passwords from Your Browser for Enhanced Security
Many web browsers have application extensions that allow you to store passwords in the browser so when you connect online with your device, you don’t have to enter your password. While this may seem like a convenient option, you are dependent on their site to properly secure and protect your password.
Password managers can offer the same service as those browsers for storing your login information and logging you in automatically, so you can avoid the need to store your passwords on the browsers.
Secure Storage of Personal Information
Password managers can also be used to store personal information. So not only will you have a safer password, you can have a single point of access and storage for all personal form information (e.g. birthdays, credit card information, social security numbers, registration numbers, serial numbers, etc.), so you will have the information readily available when you need it.
Password managers are quickly becoming a popular and safe way to manage and handle many different passwords and personal account information for all your critical websites and apps. In fact, The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) suggests password managers as a great option for people who have trouble remembering so many unique passwords1. Since password managers require you to remember one strong and unique password that acts as a key to your other passwords, you’ll potentially be able to create the last password you will ever have to remember.