As National Cybersecurity Awareness Month draws to a close, one of the easiest things you can do to help protect your identity and your sensitive files is to ensure that you have unique, secure passwords for all of your online services. Of course, that is easier said than done! Keeping up with all of the passwords for every last service you use online can be overwhelming if you go it alone. Thankfully, there are plenty of tools out there that can help.
For those who are challenged with managing multiple different passwords for different accounts they might consider using a password manager, also known as a password vault.
A password manager is a piece of software that helps someone to organize their own passwords or pin codes. It typically is a local database that encrypts passwords and the database itself uses a master password to open it. Some types of password managers also acts as a Form Filler, where once a particular website is launched, and it prompts for a username and password, the password manager recognizes the request and will automatically fill the user name and password into the form. This type of password manager can be used as a defense against “phishing” as it is setup to handle automated logins to a particular site, and will not work with an imitation or a look alike website.
Some password managers include a password generator. In this case, when you define an entry in the database for a password, the password manager can generate a password that can be stored and used as needed. There are also password managers that are available online. This type of tool is a web based version similar to a desktop password manager, but allows for more portability.
Password managers have pros and cons. Some of the pros are listed above, while one of the main cons is that if your computer (or phone if you have a password manager on your smartphone) is lost, so are your passwords. Even though they may be protected and encrypted inside of the password manager, you no longer have access to that information.
(A few password manager tools are Keepass, Lastpass, Roboform, Kaspersky Password Manager and 1password)