What Is a Password Manager?
A password manager is software that helps you securely store and manage passwords, making it easy to protect all your different accounts with separate and strong passwords. You only need to remember the one master password that unlocks the password manager itself. The tool also helps you create strong and secure passwords, and remembers them for you automatically.
Benefits of Using a Password Manager
To keep all your work and personal computing accounts secure, you should always use separate, strong password for every different service/account you use. This helps limit impact of all your accounts if one of the services you use be breached, or your password stolen. The password manager not only helps remember all your passwords for you, it also helps you easily and automatically generate strong passwords to use. Good password managers also securely store all your password in a “password vault” – an encrypted database that cannot be accessed by anyone without your master password, even if your computer is stolen. Even better, most will work with 2-factor authentication for extra security. Password managers can also be used by groups or teams that need to securely share passwords for common accounts. No more writing down passwords!
Risks to Consider When Using a Password Manager
Special care should be taken to secure the password manager, as it will hold all your passwords. The “master” password that grants access to the tool should be very strong and unique, and 2-factor/multi-factor authentication should be used if possible. Some password managers use secure cloud-based storage of the password manager database, and others only store that data on your local hard drive – there are pros/cons to each approach, but for most people cloud-based services are generally much easier to use, particularly across multiple devices, and you do not need to worry about making your own backups of your password database.
Other Considerations When Thinking About Using a Password Manager
- Does it create strong passwords?
- Does it have multifactor authentication?
- Does it help you assess security across multiple accounts?
- Does it offer you a way to securely share passwords on a team?
- Can you use it across devices?
- Where is data stored and how is it encrypted?
List of Popular Password Manager
The list below contains several popular password managers, most have free personal-use version or a paid/premium option, and some are open source and no charge. While Information Security is not able to provide support for these, we encourage you to learn more about them and choose the solution best for you.
Revision Date: October 6, 2020