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The Lowdown on Password Managers

Password Managers, Password Protection, Keeping Passwords Safe, Keeping Passwords Private, Protecting Passwords

We use our smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other computers most days, for a wide variety of tasks, both personal and work-based. During online sessions, we have to set up and input login information often, on everything from bank and shopping websites to social media and dating sites.

When we do, it’s common to use the same passwords over and over again. With so many logins necessary, who can remember dozens of different codes and which ones are used where? However, there are definite downsides to not mixing things up when it comes to passwords; hackers take advantage of this all the time. It’s helpful, then, to use password managers to keep data and networks safe. Here’s the lowdown on these tools.

Password Managers Explained

We’re told we require separate passwords for different online logins to boost security. Yet, it’s too difficult to remember all these different passwords, and it’s not wise to write them down. This is where password management tech tools come in. A password manager is an encrypted digital vault for storing codes to the websites and accounts we use online.

This code database is, itself, protected by a master number. To access all the passwords we store in this manager, we input our master login code – the only one we have to remember. In many cases, we have to pass a second authentication factor, too, such as answering a question we provided information about when creating the account.

You can choose your own passwords or let the vault generate codes for you. Password managers can automatically fill in codes to stored sites, so you don’t have to type anything in but your master password to get started. Go to the website you want to use, input your password manager login, and the program will do the rest.

The tech can also be set up to automatically fill in additional information on forms, such as your name, address, email, and phone number. Some programs enable credit card detail storage, too. Some tools also let you sync data between devices, so you’re covered whether you’re using your desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

Why We Need Them

With cybercriminals more prevalent and strategic than ever, we must all do everything we can to stop hackers from breaking into our networks and accounts. Password managers simplify cybersecurity. These tech tools are easy to use and take the hassle out of digital life.

They help us get all of our private, sensitive login information into one secure, quick-to-access place, and mean we don’t require a good memory to stay safe online. Set up as many lengthy, complex codes as you like, containing symbols, numbers, and upper- and lower-case letters, but don’t worry about having to remember them later.

Password managers can save time since information is automatically populated once you input the master code. There’s less need for dealing with password recovery or reset processes. The tools are also handy if you need to organize a shared account for a household or business situation. If multiple people have to access a single account, you can arrange for one person to control the password and the others to receive access without seeing the actual code. You can also utilize a password manager to change codes quickly and easily if you no longer want to give some people access.

Tips for Using Password Managers

It’s best to opt for a quality product that uses top of the line security processes and updates systems regularly. Avoid using browser-based password managers, as the codes stored in them can be accessed on your computer if you lose the device or if it’s stolen, or a hacker breaks in remotely. It’s better to choose a third-party product.

You could even opt for a total security suite that includes a password manager, so you get an all-in-one solution that protects you against threats while also keeping your codes locked-up tight. Plus, security experts recommend password managers that utilize AES-256, one of the strongest encryption forms around. It’s said to be the same thing the US government uses to transmit top-secret data. Choose a manager that involves two-factor authentication for extra peace of mind, too.

Since all your passwords are unprotected if anyone ever learns your master number, be very careful with this, of course. Don’t write it down or share it with anyone, and don’t base that code on any information people could find publicly, such as on social media sites.

You might sigh at the thought of having to set up another tech item when you’re already dealing with so many, but this product type isn’t hard to use. It will save you time and potentially money and heartache in the long run.

More on this topic:

Is Your Password On The List of Worst Passwords? If So, Change It

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