The Best Password Manager in 2018
Most of us nowadays use the same password for all of our online accounts, which, needless to say, is not the smartest thing to do. The alternative is to store them on your computer where they are vulnerable to being stolen. With password management software you can rest assured that your passwords won’t be forgotten or hacked. Here are just a few of the best password manager systems on the market.
Gmail, Outlook, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Tumblr, Reddit, Netflix, Online Banking etc. etc. These are just a fraction of your online accounts and you need to remember all of their details! According to recent surveys, the average internet user / smartphone owner has close to 30 different password protected online accounts. Our impulse is to just reuse the same password over and over again – after all how are we supposed to remember a different password for every account?!
Despite the obvious convenience, this isn’t a smart strategy for several reasons. First of all, if one of your accounts is compromised by a hacker, then all of your accounts will be fall like dominoes. Secondly, people who reuse passwords tend to use something which is easily guessed; without a password organizer it’s very tempting to just use something simple, like your address or a memorable date, but it’s far, far too easy for someone to guess such a password and subsequently break into your many different accounts.
Why You Need a Password Manager
But what’s the alternative?
Online banks ask us to change our passwords every few months while some other accounts require lengthier passwords, and it’s can be exceedingly difficult to keep track of them all. A simple and effective solution is to use an online password manager. An online password manager is a type of password management system which can generate unique and complex passwords as well as providing encrypted password storage. A fundamental reason why password managers are essential is because of cybersecurity. Password theft is one of the more simple ways hackers are able to steal people’s identities, obtain sensitive and confidential information, and retrieve banking and payment details.
Hackers use a variety of methods to commit password theft. A common method is known as a Key Logger attack. The hacker will send the victim a fraudulent email designed to look like an official email from a known company. The email contains an attachment which installs a program onto your computer without your knowledge. This program can then record everything you type and it can identify when you fill in password and username forms and this information is sent back to the hacker who can then freely access your accounts and steal valuable information.
Another method is simply known as ‘brute force attack.’ This method entails using password cracking software which can attempt to guess your passwords by entering different ones over and over. Most passwords aren’t particularly strong and this software can usually crack your password within 24 hours or so.
Some notable examples of password theft include:
- 2014 Russian Password Theft. In 2014, Hold Security, a Milwaukee-based cyber-security firm, identified that over 400,000 websites had been targeted by Russian hackers and over one-million passwords had been stolen. The hackers used an SQL injection (similar to Key Logging) to steal the passwords.
- 2017 Mac Video Encoder. In September 2017, cyber-security experts confirmed that the Mac video encoder, HandBrake, had been infected with Key Logging malware which hackers were actively using to steal passwords and login information.
- Haveibeenpwned.com. “Have I Been Pwned” is an online database which allows people to enter their email address or password and find out whether they have been the victims of a data breach. According to the latest statistics from the database, over half a billion accounts have been hacked or breached and their login information is not secure.
What to Look For in a Password Manager
Not all password managers are created equal. If you want value for money and an online password manager which guarantees your safety then you should ensure it contains the following features.
Strong Password generation. A good online password manager must contain software which can automatically generate strong passwords. Many internet users aren’t aware of how hacking software cracks passwords, so they create passwords which are vulnerable to brute force attacks. The best password manager systems use password generating software which creates passwords which cannot be guessed OR hacked. You needn’t worry about remembering them as the password manager does that for you. The software can also run a diagnostic of all your current passwords and upgrade them to more complex passwords which cannot be guessed or hacked.
Ultra-Secure Encryption. To defend against Key Logging attacks and other forms of malware, the best password manager software would encrypt all your login information, such as usernames and passwords. AES 256-bit is widely considered to be the strongest form of encryption and you should look for a password manager which offers this military-grade encryption.
Two-step Authentication. In the worst-case scenario, i.e. your passwords are stolen, a cyber-criminal still can’t gain access to your accounts if they’re protected by two-step authentication. This means that an extra level of security is added to your account and you need to verify your identity by entering a code which is sent to your phone or email address. Password manager should be able to add two-step authentication to all your online accounts.
Easy password management. In addition to monitoring your password’s strength, a password management system should also contain secure password storage, either on an encrypted file in your hard drive on preferably on a secure cloud. These passwords should be auto-filled whenever you log in to an account, which will ensure you never forget a password and have to resort to using the same on over and over again.
Cross-platform compatibility. Many people use different operating systems for different devices. A person may own a PC and an iPhone for example, so it’s important for a password manager to work on multiple platforms.
Additional Security Features. It’s also important for a password manager to have assorted security extras which can help you stay safe online. These can include security alerts if someone is trying to access your account, regular software updates, and real-time monitoring.
Before purchasing password management software it’s important to ensure it contains the aforementioned features, otherwise your passwords may not be adequately protected.
Best Password Manager 2018
We scrutinized many password managers and assessed them based on the above criteria. After rigorous testing we determined that the following password management systems were the best:
Dashlane is a very popular password manager, well-known for its excellent customer service and first-rate security features. It offers instant security alerts and a 256-bit encryption for all your passwords and usernames. To access your Dashlane account, you are given a ‘master key’ which is a unique code requiring authenticated access.
Roboform offers one-click-logins, a strong password generator, and an efficient password organizer. With Roboform you’re protected by AES 256-bit encryption software which can also be used for web notes. All your passwords are synced and you can enjoy 24/7 customer support.
1Password provides a place for users to securely store all their passwords, software licenses, and any other sensitive or confidential information in a virtual vault which is locked using a PBKDF2-guard and a 256-bit AES encryption. All you need to remember is your master password to access the vault. You can also unlock the vault with a fingerprint scanner or PIN code.
LastPass allows users to store all their login information, passwords, and secure notes, in a virtual vault which is only accessible with a master password. The information is encrypted with AES-256 bit encryption and guarded by PBKDF2 SHA-256 software. LastPass also offers web integration which enables two-step authentication for form auto-filling and it also offers a secure password generator.
Passwords – What Not to Do
There are a few basic ‘don’ts’ when it comes to creating passwords:
- Re-use the same password
- Use proper words or names
- Use personal information, i.e. your birthday
- Use only letters
- Use a short password (less than 8 characters)
How to Make a Strong Password
To make a strong password you should follow these criteria:
- Use a different password for each account
- Use a combination of numbers and letters
- Vary between upper and lower cases
- Use punctuation marks and symbols if possible
- Make your password very long (8 characters + at the least)
Stay Safe Online!
Hacking someone’s password is bread and butter for veteran cyber criminals. Weak and easily guessed passwords are the primary reason why so many people aren’t safe online and their confidential data is exposed. Using a proper password manager can ensure that all your accounts and login information is 100% secure and you can rest easy knowing your private information is in safe hands.