How to boost your digital security with password managers
Password managers will help you create secure passwords and help you remember them with ease, recalling them across apps and devices. Some services also warn you if one of your passwords leak online and compromise your digital security.
Read further to know more about the two commonly used password manager types; browser-based password managers and stand-alone password manager services.
Browser-based password managers;
These password managers are built into the most commonly used internet browsers today and are what most of us will have access to readily.
Google Chrome, Safari, Brave, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Microsoft Internet Explorer, and Microsoft Edge are popular internet browsers with the password manager function built into them.
Browser-based password managers offer some of the basic features required in a password manager, like generating secure passwords, detecting websites and auto-filling the correct credentials for you, and alerting you if one of your passwords leaks online or is insecure for use.
Even though these password managers might not offer some of the advanced features found in stand-alone app-based password managers, they are usually sufficient for most users. Do keep in mind that to use the password manager across your devices like smartphones, laptops, desktops and tablets, you should be using the same browser across these devices. Another challenge would also be using this password manager to log in to apps and services outside your internet browser.
One of the significant reasons people end up choosing browser-based password managers is the ease of use, as there is no other app that is required to be accessed to use the service. But, a downside of this ease-of-use is that the vulnerabilities of your browser will also affect the password manager. In the past, there have been instances where browser services got breached, and hackers gained access to user data saved on the browser’s service.
Stand-alone password managers;
Stand-alone password managers come with all the functionality needed to manage your passwords and more. Most of them also come with browser plugins that will allow them to function from within an internet browser, similar to a browser’s built-in password manager feature.
Here is a list of popular password managers and some of the features they offer.
LastPass (Free and Paid)
Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS
LastPass is a popular password manager that offers free and paid versions of its service and is available across operating systems and platforms.
The free version of the service limits users to the number of devices the service can be accessed on and does not provide some of the add-on features.
Unlimited password storage, password generator, password vault, device syncing, password auto-filling, and basic password sharing are some of the essential features available across all LastPass tiers, including the Free one.
Like any online service, even password managers are vulnerable to breaches. In 2011 and 2015, LastPass’s service suffered breaches, but the company said its security systems protected users’ information.
1Password (Paid, Limited Trial)
Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Chrome OS
1Password is a paid password manager service that only offers a paid version with a limited-time free trial. Even though 1Password was initially limited to Apple devices, the service has opened up to other platforms over the years.
It offers most of the service commonly found in password managers with some interesting add-ons. One such feature is the Travel mode which will hide sensitive data from your devices when you cross geographical borders during travels, and you can restore the data once you arrive home. This feature is helpful, especially while passing border control and security personnel at airports who lately have been demanding access to personal devices.
The company has also recently partnered with data breach alert service have i been pwned? for data breach reports that it will use to alert users if their credentials have leaked online.
Bitwarden (Free and Paid)
Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS
Bitwarden is an open-source password manager service that has both free and paid versions. The free version has most of the required basic functionalities and some more. The paid version takes the feature list ahead with some add-ons that advanced users might need, like support for hardware encryption keys.
In addition to being an open-source product, the service also allows being self-hosted by users to run their password service on their personal cloud.
Some other password manager services to look at include Dashlane, NordPass, KeepassXC (Open-Source and Self-Hosted), Pass (Command Line-based), KeePass Password Safe(Open Source), and Password Safe(Open Source).
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