Managing passwords is one of the biggest technology frustrations for people.
It’s amazing all that can be done via the Web. Shopping, paying bills, checking student records, accessing a subscription, or insurance records; the list goes on and on. And these days the list of user names and passwords you need to have goes on and on too.
It’s a pain in the neck and a time-waster when you can’t recall a user name or password and as a result can’t get into a site that contains important info.
Managing Passwords: Bad Strategies
Many people haven’t solved the password puzzle. Some people keep their passwords on scraps of paper. Others maintain organized lists that they print out or keep in a file. Many people send e-mail messages to themselves with updated passwords. And lots of individuals just struggle to remember all their user names or passwords.
And then there’s this risky strategy: simply using the same password for everything, with minor variation here and there.
None of these methods is secure, leaving one open to hacked accounts and even identity theft.
Fortunately, there are great alternatives that are far safer and easy to use: professionally-developed password managers.
However, there are probably hundreds of password managers around. So how do you choose?
Password Managers: Synchronizing Across Devices
Many people find that they need a password manager that can do the job on all their web-enabled devices: i.e., cell phones, computers, and tablets.
You want a password manager that can synchronize across devices while providing security and relief from personal memory strain.
That need significantly whittles down the list.
Your Passwords in the Cloud: Are they Safe?
Many password managers store your passwords in the cloud. The question arises: Should you worry that your passwords can be hacked by an interloper on your password manager’s server?
Check to see if a particular password manager uses any of the following types of encryption: AES (Advanced Encryption Standard), Blowfish, 3DES, TwoFish, or ThreeFish. These are the best available. So if they do then your worries should be allayed. Only your personal password can give access to your vault of passwords. Even if there’s a data breach, encrypted files are garbage unless unlocked with your password.
Bergen IT Picks 3 Top Password Managers
While there are many password managers that can pass muster, here are three that do a good, secure job. Note that Bergen IT only recommends password managers with very strong encryption built into them:
- Keeper (free)
- a very strong password generator
- allows you to launch websites (by tapping or clicking on the stored username/password info) and auto-fill fields
- can share specific site access with other people
- syncs with multiple devices (Mac, PC, iOS, Android).
- provides backup of your stored passwords with Keeper Backup ($9.99/year)
- mSecure ($9.99)
- a very good password generator
- search capability
- website launching with autofill
- very strong encryption
- can arrange your passwords into groups to make it easier to find a specific website
- account self-destructs if someone tries guessing your password too many times
- backup to your device or to Gmail
- syncs with multiple devices
- Password Genie ($5.99/year)
- simple and straightforward
- passwords are organized by pre-set or custom categories
- encryption is excellent
- can sync passwords across devices
- can download for free and use for 30 days before deciding whether to purchase
All three password managers are good, but have a different look and feel. If you want to use a password manager across multiple devices, Keeper and mSecure both do a great job. If your needs are more simple, Password Genie probably fits the bill.
Have more questions about computer security?
Contact Bergen IT:
Bergen IT is a client-centered, comprehensive tech support and strategy company for businesses, professionals, and homeowners. The company services customers in the NJ and New York City metropolitan area, including northern New Jersey (Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, and Passaic, NJ), Manhattan and the Bronx, Rockland and Westchester, and can remotely assist clients across the country.
Bergen IT provides computer, mobile device, audio, TV, and home-theater services. Its focus is on providing personal attention, reasonable rates and top-notch expertise. For more information, go to:www.bergenit.net.