The days of writing your passwords on a piece of paper next to your computer are long gone. Your whole life is on the internet, and using your cat’s name as your password isn’t going to protect you. Modern passwords need to be strong and impossible to guess. Strings of letters, numbers and symbols (example strong password: m%niQF8eRghj&t3K) are what’s needed to help protect you from online threats, and you should use a different one every time. A strong password can be the difference between a hacker cracking your secret code in minutes or decades (literally).
The question is not wether you should use strong passwords or not (let’s assume everyone knows they should). The question is how do you manage them all? The answer is simple – use a password manager. Password managers allow you to store all of your usernames and passwords, encrypted securely, online, or on your computer or mobile device, and gives you access to all of them, using one username and password.
In addition to storing your passwords, password managers are useful in many other ways. They can store your sensitive personal information such as credit card numbers. They can prevent you from entering your information on a fake web page (phishing). They can even alert you if one of your accounts may have been involved in a data breach, and change your password for you.
It’s important to note that password managers are only one part of protecting yourself online. Other security measures such as locking all of your devices when not in use, and using two-factor authentication, are needed to keep your data safe at all times.
Don’t forget to burn that piece of paper with your old passwords on it!
For more information on password managers:
Everything You Need to Know About Password Managers
As the article above explains, it’s really up to your preference. Are you comfortable with storing your passwords encrypted online, or do you want a more secure (and more difficult to access) solution that stays encrypted on your device? Personally, since I have so many devices, I like encrypted online solutions, mainly for their easy (secure) access.
If you need a recommendation (which I am not paid for), I would check out LastPass (my personal favorite, and it’s free) for an online solution, or 1Password ($2.99-4.99/m) which offers both online and offline options. Both are reputable companies with many years in the password manager business.
For a recent comparison of several of the top password managers of 2017, click here.