Fifteen years ago, a post like this would not be needed. Most of us only had an email account and the password for that was most likely very basic. Fast forward to today and we have passwords for our email, Netlfix, Hulu, online banking, credit cards, investment accounts, etc. To make matters worse, it seems that every time I log in, I am required to update my password. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on how you look at it, the requirements for a password have gotten more stringent.
In the past, a password had no requirements. Now you need at least 8 characters, a letter, a number, an uppercase letter, a symbol, a blood sample and your retina scanned. Luckily we don’t need those last two – yet. So how do you go about remembering all of these passwords? Say hello to password management software. Below are 5 options for helping you to remember and store your passwords.
The main thing that is nice about Dashlane, is that it is simple to use. You can get it for free for PC and/or Mac as well as most tablets and smart phones. You set up your account with your master password and then can either import your passwords into the program or you can let it monitor your online activity. In this case, Dashlane will ask you if it should remember your username and password when you visit your online banking site. The same applies when you enter your credit card or shipping information when buying things online.
An added benefit of Dashlane is that it rates the strength of your current passwords as well. Dashlane is free for 1 device. If you want to use it on multiple devices, you will have to pay $20 per year for the premium edition.
One last point about Dashlane is that in the event you lose your master password, you are in trouble because Dashlane does not save or record it. You are the only one who knows your master password.
Kapersky Password Manager 4
Kapersky Password Manager 4 is another great option for capturing your passwords. It works by capturing your passwords as you enter them on your PC or Mac. The service costs $24.95 but does not extend to mobile devices.
LastPass has many of the same features as Dashlane, however, LastPass is web-based which means you can use it from any computer. If you want to use LastPass on your mobile devices, you will have to pay for the premium version, which is $12 per year.
Also, just like with Dashlane, if you lose your master password, you are out of luck as LastPass does not have any access to it.
Keeper is another option for password management. Keeper works as an app and stores your passwords for when you need them. For a single device, the free version is available. However, if you want to use it among multiple devices (PC and mobile), you’ll need to buy Keeper Backup. The cost for Keeper Backup is $10 per year, per device.
KeePass is the only completely free option listed. You can use it on PC, Mac or mobile devices and you can import and/or export passwords onto the program. KeePass also allows clipboard copying, drag and drop and auto fill-in.
Other added benefits of KeePass include a secure notes section as well for keeping private notes and reminders as well as the ability to print for hard copy. This will allow you to keep a paper copy as backup should you ever need it.
Overall, password management has come a long way. In most cases, to get the most out of the services, you are going to have to pay for it. This is where you need to ask yourself if the price is worth the cost. All of the password managers listed use AES-256 encryption, which has not been hacked, as of this writing. While the odds of you having your passwords breached without these services is unlikely, knowing the headaches of trying to stop the criminal and getting your identity or personal information back might just be enough to justify the costs.
Readers, do you use any password management software? Why or why not?
Image provided by Karen_O’D via Flickr