With all the malware, spyware, phishing scams and data breaches out there, you can never be too safe. As long as your devices are connected to the internet, you’ll constantly be exposed to cybercriminals.
While it’s convenient to create an easy-to-remember password and use it across your accounts, this is a big mistake. A crook needs only access to that one password to make things difficult for you. Tap or click here to check out password mistakes Americans are making.
Password managers take the guesswork out of creating and storing strong passwords. You have many choices when it comes to using a password manager, and we’ll help you decide.
More than just password management
A password manager stores and generates login information for all your devices and accounts. These programs can be installed as software or accessed through a website, browser extension or the cloud.
Password managers can also store payment information and autofill credentials when you’re shopping online.
A reputable password manager is an excellent way to secure your accounts. As a bonus, these programs can detect fake login pages and won’t enter your credentials in those cases.
Some password managers are free, while others charge subscription fees. Here’s what to look for in a good one:
- Choose a password manager that uses the industry-standard AES 256-bit encryption, which is also used by governments, the military and private companies. This protects against brute force attacks.
- Two-factor authentication adds another layer of security, whether it’s biometric (a fingerprint or facial scan) or a single-use PIN code sent to your mobile device.
- Look for a password manager that uses zero-knowledge architecture. This means only you can see your passwords and any other personal information in the program. Your information is encrypted before it’s stored in a server.
- You want good desktop/mobile support in case you need help with your account.
Setup usually involves creating an account with your email address and master password. This is one password you’ll have to remember to access all the rest, and it needs to be tough to crack.
Here are some password managers to check out.
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Roboform is available for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android and supports popular browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge and Opera.
Roboform uses AES 256-bit encryption and supports 2FA apps like Google Authenticator and Microsoft Authenticator. Tap or click here for 50% off RoboForm everywhere subscriptions for Kim Komando users. That’s just $11.90 per year!
1Password has shared vaults, which let you share logins, passwords, credit cards and more with people you trust. You also get five guest accounts for limited sharing.
Two-factor authentication, AES 256-bit encryption, real-time breach alerts and phishing protection are standard. 1Password does not store your master password or data anywhere.
The Teams Starter Pack is great for up to 10 users and costs $19.95 per month. The Business subscription adds VIP support and 20 guest accounts, activity log, custom roles, custom groups and usage reports. This tier costs $7.99 per month per user.
Try a free 14-day trial. Learn more at 1password.com.
LastPass is a popular password manager that lets you store digital records such as insurance cards and memberships. LastPass uses AES-256 bit encryption, and multifactor authentication can be implemented at the group or user level. You can share your passwords and credentials with those you trust.
Local-only encryption means your data is encrypted and decrypted at the device level, and LastPass can’t access it. Dark Web monitoring and breach alerts let you know if your information has been exposed.
The Premium plan goes for $3 per month. The Family plan is $4 per month and adds six encrypted vaults and a family manager dashboard. Teams is $4 per month per user, which is good for 50 users or less and uses a zero-knowledge security model. The Business plan costs $6 per month per user and works for unlimited users.
LastPass is available for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android devices and is compatible with Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge and Opera. Try a free trial at lastpass.com.
Note: LastPass has been breached before and some users believed that this occurred again this past December. LastPass says the scare was due to security alerts triggered in error.
Bitwarden is a relative newcomer to the password manager world. It uses AES 256-bit end-to-end encryption, zero-knowledge encryption and multi-factor authentication. Its Send sharing feature lets you easily share encrypted information with those you trust. You can set deletion and expiration dates for shared information for extra peace of mind.
Bitwarden is open-source and you can create a free account for yourself and invite a friend or family member to join you for free. The free tier gets you unlimited vault storage for an unlimited number of devices.
Upgrade to a Premium account for $10 per year and get advanced two-factor authentication, access to Bitwarden Authenticator and emergency access. The Families Organization tier includes all the features from the Premium tier for up to six users.
Bitwarden works on Windows and Macs, Windows, Mac, Linux; iOS and Android; Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Edge. Go to bitwarden.com for more.
KeePass is a free, open-source password manager. It supports AES 256-bit encryption and encrypts the entire database, your name, notes and more, not just the password fields. You can use a master password or key file (or both) to secure your KeePass account.
KeePass is portable and can be carried on a USB stick and run on Windows systems without being installed. You can choose to install it if you’d like and nothing is stored on your system.
KeyPass comes with more than 100 plugins and extensions. Get more information at keepass.info.