In our article about strong passwords we mentioned that it is essential to have a different password for each service and application you use. That raised the question “How can a normal human being remember so many different passwords?” and the solution for that question is Password Managers. These programs manage passwords for us so that we don’t have to remember them. Amazing, right?
Using password managers means you can also generate long, complex passwords without the worry that either human being or a computer can crack it. You can even generate random data for security questions and save them in the software vault itself. It comes at a cost though - now you have a single point of failure so you have to choose a very strong password to protect your password manager vault.
It is also essential to know that password managers need a master password - one that decrypts your vault and unlocks all others. The master password must be a very secure one but also easy to remember. Many password managers offer and recommend the use of 2FA.
There are three types of password managers: locally installed software applications, online services accessed through website portals, and locally accessed hardware devices that serve as keys.
The most useful for beginners are web-based services. These services sync passwords between your devices and keep your vault secured in the cloud, and protected with a master password and 2FA (preferably). Most of these password managers have browser add-ons and/or software available to install on your computer or mobile device and acts as a vault.
LastPass browser add-on interface
It is important to take note of pricing. While many password managers offer paid tiers, some have excellent free versions available e.g. LastPass. We recommend starting with a free tier or trial, test things out and decide if the specific password manager fits your need. You might discover that a free tier is satisfactory for you or you may wish to upgrade to the paid one as needed.
The hardest part is choosing a password manager itself - there are so many of them! Rather than choosing a specific one for you, we encourage you to try several and only then choose the one best suited to your needs and devices. Some popular ones include LastPass, 1Password, MasterPass, and KeePassX. Below you will find an article that can get you started on your research for a good password manager.