With the recent news of Cloudbleed and the ever increasing number of hacks and leaks, protecting your personal information can seem like a daunting task. Here’s where password managers come in handy.
Password managers are for everyone.
They help you utilize more secure passwords without the need to remember them all. Not to mention the sheer volume of passwords we now have to deal with. One day we may not have the need for passwords anymore, but until then, password managers are here to make our lives easier.
Password managers help make good security possible. With the ability to only have to remember one password (make sure it’s a strong one), you are able to make all of your individual site passwords as complicated and as secure as they support. Many managers allow you to generate strong passwords from within the program itself or you can use a specific generator such as Strong Password Generator.
Ok, you convinced me, what manager should I get?
When I was looking for a manager myself, I scoped out a variety of managers to see which was the best and which fit my needs. During my search there were two managers that stood out for me, 1Password and LastPass with an honorable mention to Dashlane and rounding out the rest of the field, Enpass, Keeper, LogmeOnce, Norton Identity Safe, RoboForm, and Sticky Password. Notice I left out things like PostIt notes, rolodexes, .txt files, etc…
What I like about 1Password and LastPass is they are ubiquitous across platforms and can both sync all of your passwords across devices. What’s nice about LastPass is they now do this free as of November 2016 and have a cheaper premium tier at $12/year as opposed to 1Password’s individual plan at $2.99/mo, a family plan at $4.99/mo, and even team and enterprise oriented plans.
For an in-depth breakdown of features of top password managers, A Secure Life did a great job of laying everything out in a nice comparison table with further analysis.
With how closely the two services are to each other, I tend to recommend both of LastPass and 1Password with LastPass getting an edge if cost is a major concern or Mac and iOS isn’t your primary platform. I chose 1Password myself since it’s integrated into more iOS apps and I especially enjoy the new TouchBar fingerprint integration on my new MacBook Pro.
Password Best Practices
To get the most out of your password managers it doesn’t help if all your passwords are 12345678 (sadly still one of the most commonly used passwords). If you use 1Password or LastPass both have generators built-in with settings for number of characters, symbols, passphrases (1Password only) etc…
There is a well written guide on password best practices available by Wired written in-conjuction with password security experts
Did You Know?
That it’s really easy to keep your keyboard clean and grime free
- Step One – Blast around the keys with some compressed air if it’s been a while (especially for keyboards with larger gaps like desktop and mechanical keyboards)
- Step Two – Tip upside-down to empty if there’s any dirt bits (again more for larger gaps)
- Step Three – Wipe the keys using isopropyl alcohol* (standard rubbing alcohol, I use 90%) with a cotton swab or lint-free cloth.
- Step Four – Even though there should be no residue left behind I let everything sit for about 5 minutes to be safe.
*Do not use ethyl alcohol — it can remove the printed lettering on your keys and other surfaces.