Chances are, you watch YouTube. If you do, then you wouldn’t be a stranger to Dashlane, 1Password, and even Bitwarden.
In case you don’t know, those are the names of password managers that have been mentioned a lot these past years. Many people are beginning to flock to them.
But if you’re reading this, you might be wondering: why should you use a password manager?
I’ve had the same thoughts as you. Why do I need a password manager? The main reason I didn’t bother to check password managers out is that Google Chrome has a built in password manager. It stores and remembers passwords for you, and it auto-fills forms for you. I just didn’t see a need to use another software. I was also against randomly generated passwords. What if I can’t access my passwords? I wouldn’t be able to log in because I don’t remember that random string of numbers and letters and symbols!
All of these are valid reasons to decide to not use a password manager. However, as time went on, I realized that I was repeating passwords and only changing a few characters here and there. I was worried that I would be locked out of an account and I wanted to know the password to everything. It had helped me before: when the password manager failed to log a password on a website, I guessed the three variants of my password and managed to log back in.
Unfortunately, in the process, I made myself vulnerable to losing many accounts.
Data leaks happen all the time. Your data can also be sold by shady websites that you didn’t know you signed up for, or if your device had been compromised by a malicious software. Or, the website was simply hacked.
In any case, a lot of people are unaware or do not appreciate how frequent or the scale of which data breaches occur. In fact, your emails and passwords might be out there already, floating around hacker forums. This leads to compromised accounts and lost data. If in any case, an account which holds sensitive information about you is hacked into, then you could be a victim of identify thief and fraud. You can also lose access to precious memories that you have stored in certain accounts and there is always a chance that the company behind the website is unable to help you recover the compromised account.
A password manager is an easy way to prevent all of this from happening.
What password managers basically do is review all your passwords and determine whether they are weak or not. There are also managers that have databases on data breaches and can inform you which of your passwords and emails are compromised. Password managers generate long strings of strong passwords that you can adjust. They then remember the passwords for you and you never have to worry about losing accounts to forgotten passwords again.
Password managers secure all of your passwords in a vault or bank and all you need to do is to remember one master password. You log into your vault with one password and from there you get the access to all your other passwords. They usually log you out after a set amount of time to make sure all your information is safe.
Keep in mind that you need to make sure you make your master password unique and strong, as losing this password means losing hundreds of your accounts. Many password managers would refrain from remembering your master password and if you lose the password, they won’t be able to help you.
A lot of password managers also have an extension which allows you to auto-fill forms so you don’t need to go about copying and pasting passwords.
After coming to this conclusion, I went ahead and compared all of the password managers I know of. I am stingy with my money, so I always try and see which ones are free – but, as always, free services are never as good as paid ones. You really do get what you paid for.
Still, I went ahead and settled on LastPass, which I find to be the most convenient option of them all. LastPass offers a free trial of their software for a lengthy period of time and doesn’t force you out once that trial ends. LastPass also has an auto-change password feature. It is neat and easy to navigate. It is also easy to import your existing passwords and emails from Google Chrome to LastPass.
LastPass has a security challenge tab (like many other password managers) and it rates the overall strength of your passwords and warns you about repeated passwords. On top of that, LastPass has an authentication app that helps add an extra layer of security to your accounts when applicable.
LastPass offers apps on Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, Opera, iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. You can take LastPass everywhere with you and a free plan doesn’t limit you to one device.
Still, if you want more perks, LastPass isn’t that pricey either. Though, I find that LastPass’s free features are more than suitable to my needs and thus I prefer it more.
However, you should check out other password manager apps if you want to start using them. It does take a little trial and error to find a software that is perfect for you. Here is a list of two other popular password managers that I have seriously considered before settling on LastPass.
1Password was a strong contender for LastPass for me. 1Password has multiple vaults compared to LastPass, which only has one. Multiple vaults add an extra layer of security for users as they can keep multiple groups of passwords separate from each other. 1Password also has local storage, which LastPass does not. 1Password is also easier to use than LastPass, though I personally don’t think LastPass is tricky to navigate either.
However, LastPass is, overall, slightly cheaper than 1Password. Even though they both have a 30 day trial period, 1Password does not let you continue to use their service for free. Though, it is felt that you get better bang for your buck for 1Password if you decide that you want to pay.
LastPass also has a better browser plug-in. 1Password might get confusing as you wonder when you need to use the app and when you need to use the browser extension. While the latter handles most daily tasks, if you want to create secure notes or encrypt data, you’ll need to open up the app. LastPass handles this much more smoothly, and all you need to do is to open up the browser extension. It is equipped with the whole suite of options visible and there is no need to open anything else.
Though, there is one added benefit to 1Password. 1Password has teamed up with HaveIBeenPwned (HIBP), a website that collects information on data breaches and allows you to check if your email or passwords have been leaked. You can check on HIBP to see if any of your emails or passwords are leaked and, if they are, HIBP will list them in a drop-down menu to let you know which sites they were taken from.
Read More: The 773 Million Record “Collection #1” Data Breach, a set of email addresses and passwords totalling 2,692,818,238 rows. It’s made up of many different individual data breaches from literally thousands of different sources.
Dashlane is pretty impressive on its own. There is a plethora of features and it even has its own VPN. It has the basic features any password manager should have: security, strong password generators, password checkups, and form filling capabilities. Dashlane is available on iOS, Androids, Windows, Mac, and most web browsers, though LastPass trumps Dashlane in that LastPass supports Windows Phone and the web browser Maxthon.
Unlike 1Password, Dashlane also offers a free plan, which is similar to LastPass. However, Dashlane’s free plan does not have a lot of features and limits you to one device only, unlike LastPass. A paid-for version of Dashlane is quite also expensive compared to LastPass and 1Password.
Other than that, Dashlane and LastPass is basically toe-to-toe on features. Other than the fact that LastPass does a lot of these features for free, Dashlane seems to pull ahead a little with a VPN feature.
Other Password Managers
There are, of course, other password managers for you to choose from that I have not listed. An important thing for you to do is to decide on your own which service is best for you. You should come to your own conclusions and try things out.
Here are a list of other password managers that are available.
- Keeper Password Manager
- McAfee True Key
- Sticky Password
- NordPass (Yes, the same guys who made NordVPN)
- Abine Blur
If none of these really appeal to you, then you can still stick to Google Chrome’s built in password manager. Chrome has an option to check for compromised sites and can detect weak passwords during check up. Chrome can also suggest a strong password for you but you cannot adjust this password on the same tab. You should preform health checkups on your passwords regularly if you want to stick with Google Chrome’s password manager.
Regardless, please remember to check your emails on Have I Been Pwned and get to changing your passwords quickly!