One single password, to rule them all! A password manager is your digital assistant, it holds the keys to your most sensitive online information and helps keep you secure. As we bumble along making new accounts and joining new services, we create more and more passwords but do we always give proper thought to what we are doing and if they’re secure? The answer to that is probably not.
How does a password manager help you?
In a nutshell – By managing your passwords and helping you to create new secure ones.
If you were to write out all your passwords, it’s probable they will have bits of information in them like your name, date of birth, a memorable date, your partners name, a mixture of the former together, or maybe even the company name of where the password is needed. If this is correct you’ve probably been making fairly weak passwords all your online life. I think it’s fair to say we all do it because it’s getting harder and harder to remember all the passwords we need; this is most notable with all the different password requirements on different websites these days. Especially with all the different media accounts, takeaway account, and sports-related accounts we have.
What a password manager will do is take your passwords, analyze them for security, and tell you how they fair in terms of how easy they are to crack. It can then change them for you and like with new passwords, create a long and random password that is far harder, practically impossible, for a hacker to crack. Something like gasdKfkb88aAfljhv5a for example. Another way it will help you is by storing all your cards in a digital wallet as well as secure files of your choosing.
Ultimately a password manager helps you by making you remember one password instead of hundreds. That’s right, just one. Your master password, the password to rule all passwords. Which is majorly convenient for you, and a huge load off of your brain.
Are they secure?
It seems a bit of a radical idea doesn’t it, to have all your passwords stored together on a server or cloud. Despite your initial thoughts, you have to bear in mind that these companies have more security on their sites than you do with your standard router setup at home, and comparing the two, they are actually more secure than you are.
With that in mind, also remember that these sites use two-factor authentication and there are also a whole host of other settings you can choose yourself. Such as the auto log-out feature which after a certain amount of inactivity will log you out of wherever you are using your master password. Although the main security is done by the password manager, you too have to be vigilant about where you log in and keeping your master password a secret. It’s not something you want written down in your contacts on your phone – we all do it – of course, it would be a huge oxymoron to make your master password a weak, easy to guess password too.
Will you have to buy it?
The majority of password managers work on a yearly membership basis where you purchase a license, a rare few enable you to get a lifetime license, and there are some that offer basic services for free.
The average cost for 1 user is around $2.50 a month, billed annually. This normally gives you unlimited password storage, unlimited devices, a security center to test your passwords, and the ability to import them from your browser. There are other types such as family accounts which will cost more but are normally heavily discounted, which can be between $4-6 a month but that’s for as many as 5 users. When you do the math, it’s a pretty good deal.
How easy are they to set up?
If you are used to navigating around software or apps, downloading and enabling a few features should be a pretty easy task. Even those who aren’t that tech-savvy should be able to follow the instructions. However if you don’t want to download any software, there are some that work through a browser or website alone.
Signing up takes a few minutes depending on the process but as long as you have an email address and some time to spare, this should be a piece of cyber cake.