- Why do our online accounts need protecting?
- What is a password manager?
- How to protect your personal data
- Common mistakes
- Top Password Managers
Our smartphones give us easy access to our various online accounts so it’s important that we have strong passwords to keep them safe.
However, statistics show that less than half the UK population have a strong, separate password for their main email account compared to other accounts online. Further, 53% of people rely on their memory to manage passwords, resulting in 51% using the same passwords for both work and personal accounts. This means that if your smartphone was ever stolen, thieves would easily be able to hack into multiple private accounts with the same identifiable password.
With the risk of hacking constantly on the rise, it’s more important than ever to start protecting your electronic devices. And the first step is to use better passwords.
A password manager is an online platform that securely stores all of your passwords for your accounts, so you don’t have to remember them or write them down somewhere. They also usually allow you to generate stronger, more unique passwords (such as a random generation of letters, numbers, and symbols) so your accounts are harder to hack.
You can also store your credit card numbers, addresses, bank account details, and other private information. This platform is accessed by one single strong master password.
Password managers are the safest way to keep track of your passwords, as they eliminate the need to remember them, so you don’t write them down, use the same password for each account, and so on.
- Use a password manager to avoid forgetting passwords, having to use the same due to memory, or writing them down
- Use password managers to automatically generate robust passwords for your various accounts
- Use three random words to create a strong, memorable master password
- Learn more about how to protect your smartphone
- Using easily-guessable passwords such as “123456”, which resulted in 2.3 million people being hacked in 2019
- Using personal information that can be found on your social media, such as a pet’s name
- Using your birth date or year, which can also be easily discovered online
- Using the same password across all accounts, so if someone guesses the login to your Facebook, they can instantly also log in to your bank account
- Not changing all of your passwords after being targeted by a phishing email or other form of security breach or scam
- Not using a password manager to keep all of your unique passwords stored in a secure location
There are lots of password managers on the market, but these are our top picks for password managers in 2021.
Access online at lastpass.com
LastPass is one of the most popular password manager platforms, which locks your personal details in a secure online vault. You can store passwords, logins, credit card numbers, health insurance cards, and other easily-forgettable information in the encrypted storage.
It generates super unique and encrypted passwords for all of your accounts, randomising a combination of numbers, letters and symbols to create a strong defence against hackers. You can also regenerate these at any time to keep your password updated.
All you have to remember is one master password to login to LastPass, but you’re also protected by fingerprint login, mobile pin app unlock, and two-factor authentication. The platform is compatible across all devices, including smartphones, tablets, and laptops.
You can purchase premium or business packages for just a couple of pounds per month.
✔Password generator tool
✔Encrypted for ultimate protection
✔Compatible with all devices
Access online at dashlane.com
DashLane stores all of your passwords, addresses, and card numbers for you, and auto-fills them into the necessary boxes to make your online experience simpler. Like LastPass, it can also randomly generate strong passwords for you.
An additional stand out feature of DashLane is their alert tool, which makes you aware of any breaches or hacks that could affect your data (and how to take the necessary action). They also have Dark Web Monitoring, which will inform you if your data is on the dark web. They offer a built-in VPN for anonymous online browsing, and encrypted privacy on your data.
DashLane is compatible on all devices, and features fingerprint unlock and two-factor authentication. You can begin with a 30-day free trial of their Premium Plan (which includes the Dark Web Monitoring tool) or remain on the free version to use the password storage.
✔Compatible with all devices
✔Auto-fill to simplify and speed up processes
✔30-day trial of Premium
✘Required to pay for access to additional security features, like the Dark Web Monitoring tool
Access online at 1password.com
On 1Password, you can store passwords, along with other personal information. Your information can also be auto-filled into boxes while filling out forms or processing at a checkout. You have complete control over the organisation of your data, compartmentalising your details by project, department, and location.
Additional security features include reporting breaches of personal data, like passwords, card details, and email addresses.
1Password also allows you to turn on ‘Travel Mode’ which will temporarily remove all details that aren’t deemed safe for travel, so that if your phone is ever stolen, the hacker won’t be able to unlock your precious information.
You can access 1Password with a master password, as well as fingerprint unlock. It’s a paid service, but you can trial it free for 14 days to see if it’s right for you.
✔Compatible across Apple and Android products
✔Control over organisation
✔Reports breaches or risks
✔‘Travel Mode’ keeps certain data hidden in case of theft
✘Not free to use
Access online at keepersecurity.com
Generate and store an unlimited amount of strong passwords for all of your digital accounts with Keeper. You can save confidential files, photos, and videos in the encrypted vault, and securely share this data with the necessary people in your family or business.
Monitor your security by enabling BreachWatch, which watches the Dark Web to report on any password breaches. With the Emergency Access feature, you can also elect five other people, whom you trust, to be able to access your account if you are unable to.
With multiple levels of encryption, Touch ID, Face ID, and two-factor authentication, Keeper is a secure platform.
✔Compatible across Apple and Android devices
✔Multiple levels of security to login
✔Stores multimedia files too
✔Monitors the Dark Web for security breaches
✘Not free to use - their most basic personal account is £29.99 a year
Access online at bitwarden.com
Bitwarden stores all of your logins and passwords in their encrypted vault, which can sync across all of your devices. Only you have access to the data inside, as it’s all fully encrypted before leaving your device (not even the Bitwarden team can read your data).
Bitwarden is an open-source software, which means that the code it uses is available for people to investigate and strengthen, thus resulting in better code and better security for the users.
This password manager saves you time by also auto-filling passwords into websites that you’ve approved. It is compatible across both Apple and Android devices, and supports the most popular browsers, including Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Edge.
You can use Bitwarden for free, or pay roughly £7.45 ($10) a year to get 1GB of file storage, two-factor authentication and a password and vault health reports to monitor your safety.
✔Compatible with most browsers
✔Open-source software means 3rd parties can amplify the security with stronger technology
✔Auto-fill passwords to speed up internet use
✘Required to pay for access to additional features, including two-factor authentication
Summary: Top Tips
- Only use a password manager to save your passwords - don’t save any to your internet browser as anyone could access these
- Don’t write your passwords down somewhere, as these written or digital notes can be misplaced and used against you
- Don’t use obvious passwords - use a unique password composed of three random words, or a randomly generated mix of letters, numbers, and symbols
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