Hopefully by now most of us know the basic rules for creating good passwords: make them complicated, don’t reuse them, and change them every so often. But with nearly every website and app requiring users to sign up for an account these days—and seemingly having different rules for creating them—remembering an ever-growing list of complex passwords can be a tough task.
That’s where password managers come in. They not only do the remembering for you but can also be used to create strong, secure passwords to protect your online accounts from hackers and scammers. They then store all your individual passwords and dole them out to whatever service you’re logging into through the use of encrypted browser add-ons and apps.
A good password manager stores, generates, and updates passwords for you with the click of a button. All of your passwords are saved to a secure ‘vault’ that is itself protected by a user-devised master password. Instead of having to remember all of your individual passwords, you just need to know the one that secures your password manager (so, as an added tip, be sure to make it a good one!).
For even greater security, password managers offer tools to alert you to potentially compromised passwords, and make it it easier to quickly change a compromised password and search through your passwords to ensure you didn’t reuse any compromised codes.
If you’re not currently using a password manager, here are three popular options that can be downloaded for free from either the Google Play Store for Android smartphone users, or the App Store for iPhones.
- BitWarden features numerous security methods, and also lets you easily import your password data from other password managers, web browsers, and various apps.
- LastPass works on nearly every platform and device available, and stores your credentials and other sensitive data encrypted on its server.
- MyKi Authenticator works a little differently. Rather than storing your passwords in the cloud, it relies on point to point encryption to securely move your passwords from your phone to your computer. You can even log in using fingerprint ID instead of a master password.
There are plenty of great downloadable password managers out there (some of which require purchase), so look for the one that has features that make sense for you. It’s a handy way to make your online experience more secure, and to eliminate having to remember every password you create.