If you use the same password for every site, anyone who figures out one of your passwords now has all of them. It’s a house of cards, but one way too many people live with. Although unique passwords serve as a convenient and (often) effective means of preventing your identity and data from being stolen, remembering them all can prove difficult without having to refer to a list of Post-It notes haphazardly placed around your monitor.
The right password manager should do more than just lock your passcodes within an encrypted vault in order to minimize your vulnerability against attacks. Many modern password managers now allow you to sync your web-based passwords across devices and change them with a mere click, while giving you the option to automatically sign in to your favorite sites and granting you improved security in all facets of your data. Below are a few of our current favorites, along with an explanation of what they do and how they do it.
What does a password manager do?
Basic password managers have just one function; they save your login information for different sites so you don’t have to. This is a feature available in any modern web browser. While such a feature may be handy, this type of password management isn’t going to do you any good — in fact, it could even make you more vulnerable, since browsers are often anything but secure. Firefox password manager solution is pretty much the only one that’s known as a quality, free option.
The type of password managers you should look into have a few far more helpful features. First, they encrypt all your login information and other types of data that you might often hand over to a website, such as your address or credit card information. This allows you to not only keep your personal data secure, but organize the dizzying array of passwords that many of us have to manage.
Second, many password managers generate unique, complicated passwords that are extremely difficult to crack. Through these two functions, password managers ensure that you have the strongest possible password, and do the hard task of “remembering” your passwords for you. Any password manager you use should, ideally, perform both of these security functions.
Many quality password managers also include password ranking, which tells you which of your passwords are weak and which are strong, and gives you the ability to easily change the puny ones out for something more robust.