Passwords Managers – Why You Should Have One

sticky noteStrong passwords are key to keeping our online personal information and all types of sensitive data secure. A strong password is also important for keeping your own website, be it WordPress or Joomla, secure and safe from hacker intrusions.

We are required to have an ever-growing number of passwords for an ever-growing number of websites, apps, services, etc. One option is to use one easy to remember password for everything. The problem with that approach is hackers are on to that one. They will automatically try the same login information on multiple sites to see if it works. They will also try every common password known to man. I’m sure you’ve seen the multiple lists of terrible passwords to avoid at all costs.

The best passwords are the ones you cannot possibly guess… or even remember.

  • They should be long, the longer the better. If a site has a maximum password length, use it.
  • They should be complex, containing a mixture of upper and lower case letters, symbols and numbers.
  • They should be different for every site you access.

So how can we possibly manage all these secure, unmemorizable passwords?

Password Managers To The Rescue

lastpass screen

That’s where password managers come in. With a password manager, you only need to remember one password… for the password manager itself. And needless to say, this master password should be strong too.

There are several good password managers such as LastPass, Dashlane, KeePass, 1Password, etc. I use LastPass.

A good password manager will help you with several tasks:

  • securely manage login information for an unlimited number of sites, apps, etc.
  • organize and easily locate any login information
  • automatically generate secure passwords
  • automatically fill in login information on login screens
  • automatically fill in frequently used forms with address, credit card, etc.
  • synchronize with all your devices so you can easily access sites from your laptop, phone, tablet, etc.

A good password manager should offer other nice features:

  • ability to securely share login information with someone else or groups (explanation below)
  • multi-factor authentication (explanation below)
  • plugins for multiple browsers (explanation below)

Sharing Login Information

A feature I really like is the ability to securely share passwords or login information with others. There are so many times I need to send login info to a client or family member(s) (Netflix anyone?). And it’s never a good idea to do this over email, unless you know that it’s 100% encrypted from you to the recipient which is often not the case.

Multi-factor Authentication

Another layer of security, multi or two factor authentication helps ensure nobody else can access your password manager account. It often works via an app on your phone that will generate a random code every minute or so that you must input to access your password manager. If a would be malicious hacker attempts to access your data, they will be prompted for the code, and assuming they don’t have access to your phone, will not be able to complete the login process.

Browser Plugins

Every major browser should support a plugin for your password manager. This means that you can easily access your login info no matter what browser you prefer to use.

Conclusion

So there you have it. A password manager will make your life easier and help keep your personal and sensitive data secure. It does this by arming you with secure, unique passwords for all your various websites, services and apps and making it easy to login to each of them.

If you’re still not convinced, take a look at a couple short videos produced for LastPass, but generic enough that they could apply to any password manager.

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