It seems like you need a complex password for everything these days, ranging from the online account you use to pay your electric bill to your cable television account, credit card account, and online bank. Some companies even require passwords to meet specific guidelines, such as not having any repeating letters and numbers, adding a special character, and having at least one upper-case and lower-case letter. Other accounts may not have many requirements at all, making it possible to use passwords like “password 1,” or even your spouse’s name.
Either way, it can be difficult to remember a bunch of different passwords — especially when some have wild requirements and others don’t. Where “fido1234” may be perfectly fine with your utility company, a bank with more stringent requirements won’t let it fly.
It can also be tempting to use the same password for everything, but there are risks involved with that strategy. If a hacker accesses the one password you have, for example, you could be in for a world of hurt.
Of course, you can also keep a master list of passwords on your computer, but what happens if a hacker gets access to that document? Nothing good — that’s for sure.
Introducing Password Managers
The reality is, you need to make each of your passwords vary so a hacker or scammer doesn’t suddenly get access to all the accounts you have. At the same time, it’s not safe to keep a list of passwords on your computer. If you do, you are leaving yourself open to scammers who might hack into your computer and find them.
So, what’s the answer? Password managers — that’s what.
A password manager is an online service that uses multi-factor authentication to help you gain access to your accounts with both a password and a code. The “authentication code” only exists on devices you own, however, making it impossible for someone else to access your accounts — even if they somehow access your password.
Password managers also create automatic, encrypted passwords that are automatically used for you when you log into websites you use. This allows you, the user, to create one master password for everything, then rely on your password manager to keep track of all the encrypted and individualized details you need to log in.
Best Password Managers of 2019
If you’re worried about falling victim to identity theft or other types of fraud, you probably should be. The Insurance Information Institute (III) states that there were 16.7 million victims of identity theft in 2017 to the tune of $16.8 billion dollars stolen from consumers. Much of the fraud was the result of exposure to a major data breach, but credit card fraud, tax fraud, bank fraud, and phone and utilities fraud were also rampant.
While you can’t protect yourself from every type of fraud, and especially not major data breaches that take place with third-party companies, you can control the information you store on your own computer and your own accounts.
A password manager can help you avoid fraud and simplify your life. Here are the five best for 2019:
LastPass is a cloud-based password manager that is geared to both individuals and businesses. Like other managers, LastPass has users create a strong master password they use for all accounts, then relies on computer software and encryption to create complex passwords no one could guess.
LastPass also adds two-factor authentication that makes accessing your accounts even safer no matter where you are. You can use LastPass on your desktop computer and all your devices, and there is even a free version to try.
Price: LastPass is only $3 per month for individuals or $4 per month for families with up to six users.
Dashlane is another popular password manager that offers a free version with up to 50 allowable passwords. However, this password manager also offers prominent features in their paid plans, including an identity dashboard with built-in identity protection features, a VPN that allows you to protect your information online no matter where you are, and dark web monitoring.
Dashlane’s basic plans include automatic passwords generate on your behalf, along with auto-fill and nonstop password storage.
Price: Dashlane Premium is $4.99 per month while the Premium Plus version is $9.99 per month.
#3: Password Boss
Password Boss offers a free version and two paid versions for consumers along with two different business plans. All plans include automatic password generation and encryption on a desktop computer, but you’ll have to use a paid version of the program for use on handheld devices.
Like other password managers, Password Boss encrypts and stores all your relevant online passwords, including those for bank accounts, utility accounts, and online shopping accounts.
You’ll receive automatic help logging into websites you use regularly, along with added protection against data breaches. Password Boss also makes it easy to share certain passwords with trusted family and friends.
Price: Password Boss offers a basic free version along with a Premium version for $2.50 per month. Their family plan is $4 per month and good for up to four users.
#4: True Key
True Key is a password manager that lets you sign into all your relevant online accounts with your face or a fingerprint. Their technology also scrambles and encrypts your passwords, making them impossible for anyone to guess.
True Key also enacts two-factor authentication on your accounts, meaning you have to identify yourself in two ways to log in. You can also customize your profile to require even more authentication and secure your information even more.
Price: TrueKey offers a free version for up to 15 passwords along with an unlimited Premium version for just $19.99 per year.
Finally, don’t forget to check out Keeper. This company offers password protection and encryption for businesses, individuals, and families with added security measures to keep your information safe.
On the consumer side of the equation, Keeper offers special plans to protect private messenger conversations and separate plans for password protection. You can also pay for a bundled plan with both services. Keeper also offers family bundle plans that oversee and protect all devices, private messenger conversations, and passwords for up to five people living at the same address.
For businesses, Keeper offers a single plan that encrypts all passwords and protects business data from fraud.
Price: Business and individual plans start at $2.50 per month per user. Family plans start at $5 per month for up to five users, but you can book a family bundle plan with password and private messenger protection for just $8 per month.
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