Why everyone should use a password manager

Monday’s post about a huge trove of accounts for sale on the dark web should have prompted many of you into checking over your account security and changing any account where you use the username and password in more than one place. If you’re anything like me, you have many dozens of logins and cannot possibly remember the logins for all of them. That’s where a password manager comes in.

I am passionate about privacy and personal security and often advise clients here at Dave’s Computers in New Jersey how to secure their computers and accounts. One of the things I recommend is using a password manager.

What is a password manager?

A password manager is a third-party app or browser extension that helps manage the many website logins and accounts we have. They don’t just save these logins, they can help generate secure passwords and log you into these sites securely.

The upside of password managers

Password managers usually come as a browser plugin and will work inside your browser. Every time you have to log into a website, you can trigger the password manager to do it for you. If you join a new site, you can also ask the password manager to generate a secure password and automatically save it for you. This ensures you use a truly random, difficult password every single time.

Many password managers include a right click dialog. Right click to have it enter your login into a website. Right click to generate a secure password and right click to automatically fill in a web form. Considering that they are either free or cheap, they are a powerful tool to have around.

The downside of password managers

There are only two downsides of password managers that I can see. One is that some of them are limited in their free capacity and only come alive when you pay. You can work around this by shopping around and choosing a less limited one.

The second downside is that a password manager is a single point of failure. If you’re trusting all of your logins to an app, you have to trust that app to keep you safe. Again, this can be mitigated by choosing a password manager with a good reputation and that uses tough encryption to keep your data safe.

What password manager should you choose?

The short answer is the one that you like the look and feel of. The better, more actionable answer is one of these. Try, LastPass, Dashlane, KeePass Password Safe, Sticky Password or TrueKey. There are other options but once you begin to see what’s on offer you can build up a picture of what is available free and what you need to pay for.

Hint, you don’t need to pay for anything. I use LastPass and have done for many years. Some of the others mentioned are equally good so you will find something you like.