Password managers store online passwords and other information in a database that only you as the user have access to through the use of a Master Password. These password managers can save you time and increase your online security, which is vital as more and more personal information gets stored on the internet.
Table of Contents
HOW DO THEY WORK:
The benefit of a password manager is that all of your passwords are stored in one place. You then choose a Master Password (the more difficult the better) that allows you to access any of your online accounts that require a password. Now, instead of remembering multiple passwords for different online accounts, you only have to remember the Master Password, which will enter your login information into the different accounts that are stored in your password manager database.
ARE THEY SECURE:
With a password manager, you are the only one who knows your Master Password. The Master Password is not stored anywhere in the network. As long as you do not use a simple password that can be guessed, hackers will not easily be able to enter your database. While there is always the possibly of being hacked, as shown in the close call with LastPass , the security provided by project managers usually outweigh the risk. After all, unless you want to manually keep up with a different, quality password for every online account you have, you can be assured that a password manager is the safest route to consider.
Another thing to consider is that if you forget your password then there is no way to recover it. You will have to set up a new password manager and re-download all login information for every online account, but this is a fair trade off to ensure your security since you will be the only one with knowledge of your Master Password.
ADVANTAGES OF A PASSWORD MANAGER:
Security and Convenience: Most people consider passwords an inconvenient step in gaining access to their account and less of a security precaution. For that reason, you might be using a password that can be easily guessed based off of common passwords that people use or information on one of your social networks. Even if you don’t use an easily guessed password, there are plenty of other methods like dictionary attacks and brute force attacks that can be used to gain access to your account . Typically, when a hacker discovers a password for one of your less secure accounts like Facebook, then they know that same password will most likely work for your more secure accounts like online banking accounts. For that reason, you have to choose different, complex passwords for every online account you have, which can be difficult to keep up with. A password manager can keep up with all of those passwords for you in an encrypted database, and all you have to remember is that all important Master Password.
HOW TO CHOOSE:
Besides the basic features of a password manager, there are two other things to consider when choosing a password manager: do you trust the product and does it have a good reputation?
THINGS TO LOOK FOR:
Offline vs Online: Offline password managers are installed on your computer, while cloud-based programs are stored online. With the offline password managers, you can have an added sense of security knowing that your password database is only stored on your computer or possibly on a USB drive, which is a feature with some products. No one else can access your password database unless they have access to your computer first. The downside of an offline password database is that you can not easily access it anywhere. You need to be using one of your approved devices. With an online password manager, you can access your password database as long as you have an internet connection.
Generated Passwords: You might have trouble picking a safe password for one of your online accounts as many accounts now require various numbers, symbols, and letters. If that is the case, then some password managers will generate a password for you. They will also determine which passwords in your database are weak or used more than once and make suggestions for you to change those passwords with stronger and more unique passwords.
Autofill Data: Password managers can store your address and other information that is often required when signing up or submitting to a website, then when you go to fill out that information in the future, the password manager will automatically fill out the information for you. You can even use this to fill out certain sections of online resumes, which can save you time.
Access Across Different Devices: You might want a password manager that works on your laptop, smartphone, and tablet because you use different devices to access accounts at different times. For that reason, you can look for a password manager that works across your different devices.
Defense Against Look-A-Like Websites: Hackers sometimes set up websites that look like a website that you have an account with. Once you go to log into the account, they are able to steal your login information. Password managers are able to determine if the website you are logging into is authentic or not. The manager will then warn you before logging you in.
Password Sharing: You might need to give access to your account to someone else for whatever reason, be it a co-worker or a spouse, so if they set up a password manager, you can send them passwords securely through the manager system. Many password managers even allow you to share access to an account without actually sharing your password for the account.
Security Alerts: Some password managers will alert you if one of the websites that you have an account with has been compromised. You can then go in and make changes to your login information to ensure that your information is safe.
Password Manager Reviews
- RoboForm offers a startup web-browser that lists all of your favorite websites, which makes navigating the internet more convenient.
- The mobile edition of RoboForm has all of the same features as the desktop edition, so you have the full power of the password manager in your hand.
- Another feature you might enjoy is the touch ID and PIN authentication for mobile devices, which means you won’t have to type in your Master Password when you use your RoboForm.
- You have to enter a code sent to your email to authenticate a new device. This provides your password database with added security.
- With RoboForm, you can create different autofill entries, which means you can have different bank accounts, credit cards, emails, or addresses set up how you need them.
- One of the drawbacks to RoboForm is that the product does not provide security alerts which means personal information could be leaked on one of your accounts without your knowledge.
- RoboForm also does not provide you a report on the strength of your passwords.
- Another drawback is that you have to have special hardware for the fingerprint authentication, which means you might be limited on two-way authentication options.
- It is free if you are only syncing Dashlane to one device, which is beneficial if you only use your computer when checking online accounts.
- You can import login information already stored on your internet browser or from another product when you set up Dashlane, which can save you valuable time.
- Dashlane provides a percentage rating for your security level, which lets you know that you need to make changes to your passwords.
- You can also display your passwords by their safety level, and click on unsafe passwords to determine why they are considered unsafe.
- In the event that you are involved in an accident, you can set up emergency contacts that will have access to your passwords should they need them. You can even determine who has access to what passwords.
- Dashlane does not allow you to manually capture login information from a website that is not recognized by the program.
- You might not like the extra steps required to change the length and character requirements for the password generator, as you have to go into the Dashlane browser to make adjustments.
- 1Password has a feature called Watchtower, which notifies you about weak passwords and major hacks that you might have been a victim of.
- With a feature called 1Password for Teams, you can divide your passwords into vaults and share the vaults with other 1Password users. This might be useful to you if you have a group of people who need access to certain websites that you are in control of.
- With 1Password, the password generator has a unique feature that allows you to generate passwords with actual words in it instead of random letters (i.e. jEijnI12Inn). This makes the passwords easier to remember and type if you are not using your password manager.
- 1Password does not have a multifactor authentication feature, which means 1Password only requires one step when logging into your account. Multifactor authentication is particularly helpful when someone is trying to access your account from a new device.
- You can not automatically change passwords on websites like you can with many other password managers, which means you have to manually change the passwords if you want to keep them updates as recommended.
- One good feature is that Keeper allows you to type your own security question, so you can create a question that only you can answer instead of a typical question that is easy, particularly if someone knows you well.
- Another feature you might find beneficial is the lock icon setup for saving usernames and passwords. This feature makes it easier to save accounts to websites that other password managers would have trouble recognizing because Keeper does not copy the login information directly from the webpage. Instead, you lock the username and password into Keeper separately with the lock icon button.
- You can also add secure storage onto your Keeper account for an additional cost, but this helps keep all of your important information in one place.
- Keeper does not rate your Master Password. It only requires that it be six characters, which means you have to make sure that the password is a strong one.
- With Keeper, you can not import passwords from competing products, so if you are switching over from another password manager, you will have to start from scratch with your password database.
- With LastPass, you can sync unlimited devices of the same type for free (i.e. desktops, phones, or tablets).
- LastPass will let you know if a website is compromised, which means you will know if you need to protect your information stored in the account by changing your login information.
- Another good feature is the hidden account access sharing. This feature allows you to share access to one of your online accounts with a friend, but you can keep your password hidden.
- You can also share password folders with a set of passwords that up to five people can see. This feature also allows you to limit their access to read-only, so they can not edit the information in the folder.
- A feature from LastPass you might also enjoy is the USB or fingerprint authentication because it adds dual login security to your password manager.
- The password generator does not use punctuations, which means it is limited to numbers and uppercase and lowercase letters.
- You have to download LastPass IE Anywhere to a thumb drive and carry it with you if you want to access your password database from a computer that does not have a LastPass browser extension.
CONCLUSION + WINNER
After looking through the different password managers, Dashlane comes out on top as the best option for your online security. Dashlane beats out the other products because it does not make any sacrifices when it comes to protecting your password database. With Dashlane, you get notifications if one of your accounts is threatened, the benefit of multifactor authentication, and an excellent password rating system that helps you keep up with weak passwords. The other products have at least some drawback when it comes to these areas. RoboForm does not send out security notifications, 1Password does not use multifactor authentication, Keeper will not rate your Master Password, and LastPass does not use punctuations when generating a password. With that being said, all of these products are quality password managers and should be considered before making a decision on which one works for you.