By Tracey Dowdy
Still using your birthday as your password? Your child’s birthday? Your anniversary? That’s what a friend of mine that works in online security refers to as “One, two, three, four, come on hackers, open the door” kind of protection.
During this season when so many of us are working from home, secure passwords are more important than ever. If you’ve been online for years, the prospect of securing all those accounts may seem daunting. But, the risk of leaving your personal information vulnerable to hackers far outweighs any potential cost or inconvenience. That’s why you need to start using a Password Manager which serves as an encrypted database of all your passwords. Instead of writing them on post-it notes you’ll lose or saving hem in a note or memo on your phone which could be lost, stolen, or hacked, do yourself a favor and remember one – the one that unlocks the vault – your password manager.
Here are three of the best options out there.
LastPass remembers all your passwords across devices for free. It’s particularly useful for online shopping as once you’re logged in, LastPass auto-populates all the necessary fields, and allows you to store more than just passwords to your online accounts – you can store insurance cards, memberships, and Wi-Fi passwords and safely share passwords and notes with sensitive information with anyone via encrypted text. There are paid versions, but the free version offers everything the average user will need.
Zoho Vault is great if you have to share access within a workgroup. Passwords are encrypted with the strongest encryption standard (AES-256); enables you to provide passwords to users and groups in bulk while instantly denying access to any user who is removed; enables direct connection to websites and apps without having to manually enter login credentials; allows you to grant different access privileges to select individuals; and generates reports to keep track of which users have access to various passwords. There are free and paid versions with a 15-day free trial on paid editions.
Dashlane syncs across all your Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS devices, provides all the essential and advanced password management features of many pricier versions, includes VPN protection, and will even scan the Dark Web for compromised accounts and capture your online shopping receipts. The biggest downside is the cost. Though there is a free version, some of the features users really want are only included in the paid versions, and there is limited support for Internet Explorer users.
Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.