Passwords: You need them for nearly everything these days, and it seems like each website or account has its own unique specifications for their creation. And of course, it is strongly discouraged to use the same password for all sites. So how can you keep track of them all?
Expert technology writer Rick Broida of Computerworld wrote in an article for PCWorld that he discourages his friends from keeping lists in a text file, spreadsheet or other similarly insecure document.
ï¿½Thatï¿½s a disaster waiting to happen. If a hacker ever finds his way onto one of their PCs, those passwords will be easier to steal than a whiff of chocolate at the Hershey factory,ï¿½ Broida says. ï¿½Whatï¿½s more, if one of my amigos ever needs access to those passwords while traveling, heï¿½s out of luck. Same goes for a hard-drive crash: Itï¿½ll take down that password list along with everything else.ï¿½
The solution is simple. Utilize one of the multitude of password manager services out there, many of which are free and offer great, useful additional features. Here are some of the most recommended.
Access this free online password manager anywhere, and feel secure doing so.
ï¿½Storing passwords and other confidential information online can make [some people] nervous, but Clipperz uses an encryption method that means not even Clipperz knows what itï¿½s storing,ï¿½ writes productivity blogger Leo Babauta on Lifehack.com.
This is one of the solutions that stores more information than just passwords ï¿½ Clipperz can save and remember credit card and account numbers and much more.
For an app that utilizes fingerprint recognition and other biometric scanners, LastPass is surprisingly simple to use. Available on iOS and Android, and even alternative devices such as Windows Phones, the technology employs super-secure two-step authentication to access your information.
It too can store additional information, as well as capture Wi-Fi passwords, in a databaselike interface ï¿½ great for those trying to upgrade from an unprotected spreadsheet. It even offers a password generator feature to create a random password meeting all of a certain siteï¿½s specifications, and then it stores it safely and automatically.
However, Kit Eaton of the New York Times found that LastPass does have one drawback:
ï¿½While the app is free, to make the most of all its powers, like automatically filling in details on Web sites, you have to pay a subscription of $12 a year,ï¿½ Eaton says in a 2013 article.
This may be one of the best-known password manager apps, and its popularity may be due in part to its amazing security. It doesnï¿½t have two-step authentication, but it never sends data to servers, according to technology reporter for the Wall Street Journal Geoffrey A. Fowler.
ï¿½For the really paranoid, 1Password offers the most control over where your encrypted vault of passwords gets stored,ï¿½ Fowler writes.
The tech allows you to sync passwords across devices using local Wi-Fi networks or Dropbox or other cloud-based service providers, which is a big plus due to its higher price and the fact that software for each platform (e.g., Mac, Windows, iOS) is sold separately.
Fowler recommends Dashlane for your secure password storage needs.
ï¿½Dashlane is like the memory you wish you had. It keeps track of not only passwords, but also credit card numbers and user IDs, filling them in when you need them across many different devices,ï¿½ he explains.
Itï¿½s free to download on a single device, but there is a fee to use it ï¿½ $30 a year allows the app to automatically sync your data across multiple devices. You can try it fee-free for 30 days.
The best part about Dashlane is its ease of use. Upon setup, the app and its web browser plug-ins find passwords that youï¿½ve already been saving unencrypted on the internet and input them for you. It also has the unique ability to learn new passwords, usernames and much more automatically as you type them for the first time.
While each of these solutions comes with its own set of pros and cons, all are better than the alternative ï¿½ an insecure, vulnerable set of passwords and account numbers.