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Learn what a password manager is and it can be used to protect your passwords. Choose the best password managers to guard you against cybercriminals stealing your personal information and identification.
What is a password manager?
A password manager is a software that stores and manages all your passwords. The average person now has over 50 passwords to access different accounts and websites. It is not possible to remember all these passwords unless the person is reusing the same password for all or most of his accounts. However, reusing the same password is a security flaw that opens the door for hackers to hack your computer or online profiles of the sites that you visited and steal your data. If you store your passwords on your computer, your passwords are still at risk as it is not safe to store passwords on a device. This is where a password manager comes in handy. A password manager allows you to store all your passwords, and the only password that you will ever need to remember is the one that has access to the password manager.
How does a password manager work?
A password manager is a downloaded software or app on your computer, tablet, or phone that stores all your passwords. These are called offline password managers because they stored passwords locally. Once you log in to the password manager with a master password, it shows all your passwords to your online accounts. A local password manager can be accessed only on that device, you can't use it when you are away. There are also password managers that are online-based which store your passwords on their cloud server. You can access your password manager anywhere you go as long as you have internet access. You can connect to the password manager with any device with a master password.
Are password managers safe?
Most password managers use a strong encryption algorithm that keeps their passwords and data safe. It is much safer to store passwords in a password manager than on your desktop or a mobile phone. Some password managers use the AES military-standard that the government uses to protect their data, which is almost impossible to crack. However, that doesn't stop hackers from trying. If your computer is affected by malware, cybercriminals could gain access to your password manager. Even with a password manager, you should still take proper procedures to protect your computer from viruses and malware.
How to keep your password manager safe?
It is important that you keep your password manager safe and remember your master password. If you forget your master password, then you will not be able to access your password manager and you will lose access to all the other passwords that you stored on a password manager. If a cybercriminal gets his hand on your master's password, he will have access to all your passwords and online accounts. Therefore, it is critical that you keep your master's password safe. If you have a desktop password manager, you need to keep your computer updated, and free of viruses and malware. If you use an online-based password manager, make sure you use the two-factor login. A two-factor login uses a trusted device that you own in addition to a master's password to log in. If you ever lose your master's password, cybercriminals won't be able to log in without your device.
What are the best password managers?
There are many password managers on the market, both free and paid. Some paid password managers offer a free version with minimum features which is enough for many people. Following are some of the best password managers that you can find.
If price is the single most important factor for you in choosing a password manager, then go for Bitwarden. This is the only free password manager that offers free unlimited passwords, devices, sharing, and all the core functions of a password manager. The free version comes with self-host options which means you have the option to store your passwords offline or on Bitwarden's server. The paid version which costs $10 per year comes with additional features such as a 1GB encrypted file, vault health reports, emergency access, and priority support.
LastPass is one of the best paid password managers. They offer a free limited version of their premier password managers. The free version has access to only one device type, computer or mobile. It also comes with unlimited passwords and one-to-one sharing functions. The premium LastPass costs $3 per month, has access to unlimited device types, 1GB encrypted file storage, one-to-many sharing, dark web monitoring, advanced MFA options which offer enhanced security, automatic device sync, secure password vault, emergency access, and priority tech support.
Dashlane is a great paid password manager that offers many good security protection options such as dark web monitoring, VPN for WIFI protection, personalized security alerts, 1GB encrypted file storage, unlimited devices, and password sharing. The cost of the premium plan is $6.49 per month if you go month by month. If you pay for the whole year, it would be $60 per year. Dashlane does offer a free password manager with limited functionality. Unfortunately, most of the security features are not available in the free version. With the free edition, you get up to 50 passwords, use them on 1 device, and share passwords with up to 5 accounts.
1Password is another powerful paid password manager. Unlike the other ones that we mentioned so far, 1Password does not have a free version although it does come with a 14-day free trial. 1Password is known for its ability to sync passwords and personal data across all your devices such as Mac, Windows, Linus, iOS, Android, and the web. Their password manager works smoothly on any device. Like the other paid password managers, 1Password offers 1GB storage, unlimited passwords, sharing passwords, and 24/7 email support. The regular version of 1Password costs $2.99. If you need to share between family members, then consider the 1Password Families plan which costs $4.99 a month.
Last but not least, Keeper is another great paid password manager on our list. For $35 per year, you get unlimited password storage, unlimited devices and sync, unlimited secure password sharing, emergency access, and 24/7 customer support. The Keeper's password manager has many other pricing options such as family, personal, business, enterprise, military and medical, and student plans. With a student plan, you get 50% off.
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