You’ve heard about password managers like LastPass and Dashlane, but you’re not sure if you need one. Well, here’s the thing: you need one. If you have more than one account and are security-aware enough to maintain different passwords, you need a password manager.
Need to know more? Here are several reasons you should be using a password manager.
Password managers are available free of charge, as part of your web browser, or as premium subscriptions. They’re vital for managing your online accounts—here’s why:
Want to know more? Let’s expand these reasons and look at them in more depth.
Consider for a moment how many passwords you’re using. There’s probably an email account, maybe cloud storage… almost certainly social media. Perhaps you have an account for Spotify or iTunes, probably eBay, Amazon, Netflix, perhaps apps for restaurants and supermarkets.
Put like that, it’s more than you think, right?
While one or two passwords are easy to remember, five or six becomes a bit trickier. Of course, there is the temptation to use the same password for all accounts.
However, you should never do this. All a scammer needs to do is crack one account and they’ll have access to all. The results of the haveibeenpwned.com website show how regularly account data is hacked from websites and online stores.
With a password manager, you don’t need to remember every password for every account. The tool will do it for you.
There is one password that you’ll need to know, however. Password managers use a master password that gives access to the encrypted contents of its secure vault.
So, if you remember the master password, your password manager will work, filling passwords and account details when required. Sometimes you don’t even need the password. For example, the LastPass app for mobile devices can use a phone or tablet’s thumbprint reader for authentication.
Be sure to create a secure, memorable master password.
Another advantage of a password manager is how it can speed up logging into websites and mobile apps.
This is because the password manager will record your username along with the password for the corresponding site. When the login page is visited, this will be detected, and the credentials automatically copied from the password manager.
Some websites block autocompletion, but in most cases this works well.
With a password manager installed on your system and integrated with your browser, your passwords are securely stored. Often, you won’t even know what the password is, as the software will take over the job of creating it.
But what if you need to know a password? Well, you can look it up in the password manager. Perhaps you’re trying to access an account from another device, for example, or set up a mobile app. Simply open your password manager, find the list of accounts, and click the eye icon to view the password.
As noted, password managers store information securely. There’s no way anyone can access your details without your master password. This encrypts the storage, making it impossible to decode and steal.
It isn’t just passwords that are stored in a password manager, either. Credit card details can also be stored, while most tools also provide a basic notepad for storing important information. This might be documents, or passkeys to lockboxes, padlocks, storage facility codes, whatever.
Everything depends on your master password, however, so don’t forget it!
That problem can often be resolved by simply installing the mobile version of your password manager. Most solutions are available across multiple platforms. For example, if you use LastPass, it is available on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android. You’ll also find plugins for Firefox, Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Opera, and Safari browsers.
Your password manager can sync accounts to any device you install it on. Simply login to sync passwords and sign into any online account or app on any device.
This works seamlessly. For example, a Windows user can sync their passwords with an Android phone. It really is that easy.
The complexity of the passwords your password manager creates can be customized. However, by default they’re set to be tricky to hack, taking advantage of upper- and lower-case characters, numbers, and punctuation.
The result is a different, randomly generated password for every account you have setup in your password manager. Remember the trouble you were having remembering passwords for just a few sites? Not only does your password manager remember your account credentials, it can create a secure password to enhance your security.
No more password duplication. No more passwords that are basically the same but with a different number at the end. With a password manager app, you can augment your online security, safe in the knowledge that your passwords are safe.
By now you should be convinced of the importance of a password manager. If not, look at it this way: along with an antivirus and a VPN, a password manager is the final component of your digital security triumvirate.
Anyone who uses online passwords needs a secure password manager. The risk is account theft, which can lead to identity theft, and soon after, monetary loss. It might even result in a loss of data, or physical property.
The answer? Install a password manager now.