Gone are the days when you only needed to remember 3-5 passwords. Passwords were primarily for email accounts and a handful of social media and maybe an online bank account. Now you need at least 10 accounts for literally everything, from emails, eCommerce sites, social media, cloud apps, your thermostat, all your gov sites. You probably think you don’t have that many but the average person has well over a 100 passwords (I just made that up, but I have way over that, I lost count).
I often end up using the same password for most accounts, until some website tries to be secure and tells me I need an “special character”. I don’t need a $%!&(*@ character if I don’t want one! Or a combination of Capitals and numbers! Pretty soon my passwords are appended by numbers and some sites don’t allow repeated passwords over time!
Needless to say, this can’t keep up for too long. Until a better way comes out to authenticate, password managers are a life saver.
If you’re reading this, you probably don’t use one. Well, you should, there’s no reason not to get organized sooner rather than later.
Below is a list of the most popular ones.
- Bitwarden [My preferred option]
- Open Source
- Free version is good enough but premium is only $10/year
- Built-in authenticator app with premium
- iCloud Keychain
- Only for iOS devices (iPhone, Mac, iPad). If that’s all you use, then you’ll have no issues.
- It’s an embedded feature in Safari, no additional app to install.
- It does store your password data in Apple’s iCloud (encrypted of course!), so it may be of concern to some privacy freaks but that’s the only way it syncs between different devices.
- Cannot use on firefox, windows, or anything that’s not Apple!
- One of the most popular options. Works on nearly all platforms. It provides the same one-click password fill as iCould Keychain on all forms, Mac or iPhone (Comparing Apples to Apples, 🤗 pun intended).
- It’s cloud based as well, but then again, you want it to sync between devices and not carry a master database file with you all the time.
- The best feature and a differentiator is it’s backend management dashboard. You can edit, view and categorize passwords easily, something the iCloud Keychain fails to provide.
- Additional security features: Multi-Factor Authentication, disable cloud sync, disable login for certain countries, password audit of all your passwords.
- And it’s all Free. There is a $1/month premium account as well that adds a few more features.
- For the security freaks out there, since it has offline access and is open source
- Not as easy to use for the common user
- Very similar to LastPass
- Has an offline and online (cloud sync) feature, so the best of both worlds
- Premium version is 3x that of LastPass premium
- Offline app with online syncing via USB/Wifi or DropBox/iCloud
- 1-time fee for the premium apps
A neat feature in LastPass (and maybe others) is that you can designate another person (a spouse, sibling, etc) to have access to your password database if you die. If you put their name in, and they ask for access, you will be sent a notification to allow them. If you don’t respond in a pre-defined number of hours or days that you set, it means you’re probably dead. They could benefit from some of the 100s of login credentials to settle your matters easily instead of jumping through hoops. You may have too many skeletons in your closet that you don’t want them to know, in that case forget about this feature 🤐