Everyone, everywhere, constantly emphasizes on the need to create strong passwords to keep various online accounts secure. One of the main reasons we create simple passwords is that its much easier to remember “ILoveDave” than I@L0Ved@^e” and frankly, with innumerable social, banking, forum, website and web app registrations, we prefer to believe that we are not important enough for hackers to want our simple passwords and easily fall into the trap. Then begins the search on how to create strong passwords, how best to remember those darn strong passwords you created and so on. In this post, I take a look at some of the best password managers out there that will help you create strong passwords and remember them, so that you are never left in the lurch, no matter what.
The Case for Strong Passwords
You’re probably already familiar with some basic rules for creating password. Let’s just recollect them again here.
Never use simple passwords
A simple password is one with a few letters or a combination of a few letters and numbers such as passw0rd123. Simple passwords are easily crack-able because its quite easy to brute force and test password combinations. So the smaller or simpler the password is, the easier it is to break it. Creating a long password increases its complexity making it tougher to break. Recent research suggests that you don’t necessarily have to have a password that is alphanumeric, just a long winding password such as IhateFacebookbutlogineveryday should do the trick.
Never reuse passwords
You can top off the bad mistake of using a simple password by using the same one on every one of your online accounts. If hackers get their hands on your password, you can be sure that all your other accounts will be within their control as well. It is common knowledge that remembering different complicated alphanumeric passwords for different accounts is simply impossible. In such scenarios the best way to deal with such type of passwords is to use password managers. That way, you only have one master password to remember.
Avoid Web Browser Password Managers
Since most web browsers have integrated password managers, you may be tempted to use them for all your strong password protection requirements. The trouble with them is that they are stored in an unencrypted form, so if anyone happens to use your computer, you risk leaking your passwords.
Using Dedicated Password Managers
A dedicated password manager is a good solution to all your password management needs. It offers a number of benefits.
- It stores your passwords in an encrypted form.
- It helps generate random passwords.
- It lets you access all your passwords from any device; be it smartphones, tablets, or different PCs.
- You only need to remember one master password.
- Automatic online form filling leading to time saving.
The Best Password Managers That Money Can Buy
If you do decide to go for a password manager, here are some of the top password managers to consider checking out. They are not particularly too expensive, and when you consider the benefits you derive from it, it may well be worth the investment. As always, these tools are not listed in any order of importance.
LassPass is one of the most popular password managers. It lets you store your data securely locally on your PC, works on Windows, Mac or Linux platforms; syncs your data so you can access it from just about anywhere, automatically fills out forms, allows import and export of data, lets you create simple notes, auto generates complex passwords using its password generator, and even lets you share passwords over the internet! The desktop version is free, but for $12 a year, you can get mobile support as well as multi-factor authentication for use with a USB thumb drive.
This is the world’s number one rated password manager. The tool automatically logins, fills forms, and lets you access your logins from any device. All data are stored locally on the computer and not on the cloud. It runs on most platforms and allows access for multiple logins or identities. Roboform is available for free for up to 10 logins, but desktop users can get one full license for $29.95 or buy the RoboForm Everywhere version ( unlimited passwords, form filling, bookmarks on multiple computers and mobile devices) for $9.95 for the first year and $19.95 for subsequent years.There’s even a high end RoboForm2Go version for $39.95.
DirectPass is a secure password manager from popular antivirus vendor TrendMicro. This tool offers most of the features that are found in other password managers such as an automatic form filler, auto syncing on multiple devices, one-click login and a secure password generator. Additionally, you also get access to a secure browser to do banking transactions. You can get the free version which lets you manage 5 passwords, but a yearly unlimited password subscription will cost you $14.95.
mSecure from Msevensoftware uses never been cracked before. It uses 256 bit Blowfish Encryption and ensures that your password is not saved on any software. It provides an optional self destruct attempt if hackers attempt access to your password and includes features such as form fillers, strong passwords generator, data back ups, and integration with third part services such as Dropbox and iCloud and is available for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android platforms. The desktop version is available at $19.99 while the mobile versions are available at $9.99.
Encrypted with AES-256, the world’s leading standard, Dashlane offers a powerful password management system that lets you auto login, alerts you when your security is breached, helps you generate strong passwords using its password generator, identifies and alerts weak passwords, offers options to email encrypted passwords that later self destruct, enable data backups, and offer syncing on mobile devices as well.
Dashlane is available for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android platforms and its premium package is priced $19.99/year.
Password Managers are your best bet when you do a whole lot of transactions online. It’s ease of use and emphasis on safety and security will ensure that your data never falls into the wrong hands.