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Are password managers secure?

Published 18 February 2017 by

We can do most of our everyday chores online now: managing our bank accounts, getting in touch with friends and even ordering the weekly food shop. But with all of this online activity comes one drawback – remembering all of your online passwords.

You probably know it’s a security risk to use the same password for different accounts – if you do and someone hacks your password, they could access all of your accounts. This is where a password manager could help.

But what is a password manager and can you trust them with your information? Let’s take a look at whether password managers are safe.

What is a password manager?

A password manager is a secure system that remembers all of your passwords for you. This usually comes as a plugin for your browser or an app for your smartphone. You only need to remember the password for the password manager – it saves everything else. Some popular password managers include Last Pass and Dashlane.

Having a password manager means you don’t have to constantly keep hundreds of passwords in your head at any one time. It should also be safer as you won’t be tempted to have lots of easy passwords or just recycle the same one so you can remember it. Instead, you can make sure you have really strong passwords.

What to look out for

You might see a password manager as keeping all of your eggs in one basket. If someone hacks this or finds out the password to your password manager, they’ll get the keys to all of your different accounts.

But actually, a password manager can be a safer way to save your passwords. If you usually use the same password for lots of different websites, you’re relying on the security of all of these sites. With a password manager, you only need to rely on one site’s security. And password managers encrypt your information – so it’s harder to steal.

Here are our top tips for using a password manager.

•  Make sure you get a really secure password manager – that way, you can trust it with all of your security details. Last Pass, Dashlane and KeePass are three secure options you can get for free.

•  Don’t let your browser remember your login details to your password manager. If you do this and someone gets onto your computer, it will make it easy for them to access all of your accounts.

•  Don’t write down your password to your password manager. Once again, this can easily fall into the wrong hands and give someone complete access to your online life.

•  You should still make sure your computer has a free antivirus program installed – AVG, Avira, Panda Security and Avast are good options.

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