Password Managers 2017

Which password manager is the best to pick? Before I answer that, why have a password manager?

What do they provide?

Easy storage of all those horribly complicated passwords you have written down in a notebook. Or the fact that you pick the same password for all your online accounts (not the safest). Let’s look at a few features that are nice to haves when selecting your password manager.

Master Password

This protects your password vault from being opened without your permission. A decent password manager should have this, which is a good reason to avoid using that IE password manager…more on that later.

Multifactor Authentication

If you want to take it to the next level, your password manager should support the de facto method to more secure authentication beyond just a password. If someone gets your password they still don’t have everything to get at your vault.

Mobile App

A nice feature password managers have, a mobile app. Left your computer at home and need that password to login from the relatives? No problem with the mobile app and password syncing.

Encrypted password storage

The last line of defense. If your password vault gets stolen this makes certain they don’t have access unless they can break the encryption. A good master password helps prevent that from being likely anytime soon. The hacker soon gets bored and moved on to easier targets.

Browser Integration

This is a handy feature you’ll like. The password manager auto-fills forms, picks up new passwords, saves your password when you change it, and even will generate a password for you if you are tired of trying to come up with them.

Let’s get to the selections!

1. Dashlane (https://www.dashlane.com)

One of my favorites. It does nearly everything mentioned above. On top of that, a security feature not all the online syncing systems offer, Dashlane have keys to open your password vault without your master password. Similar to how Apple can’t decrypt and IPhone, Dashlane protects you in case they get hacked. An the basic version is free. Can’t beat that.

2. Lastpass

There’s good reason Lastpass is rated at the top. Like Dashlane they have roughly the same security and features. These two are at the top of the password manager food chain.

3. Zoho Vault (https://www.zoho.com/vault)

It doesn’t have quite all the integrating features, but it still a solid product.

4. Sticky Password (https://www.stickypassword.com)

They donate to a nonprofit safe the manatee group.

5. Freebies

Systems like keypass (https://keepass.info/)┬ácan be useful for the more technically inclined. If you’re crafty you could get the local database to sync up to a cloud backup so you aren’t totally up the creek when your hard drive dies. Keypass doesn’t have the integration into browsers. Depending on your security stance maybe that’s a good thing.

Are browsers ok?

But what about browser password managers you ask? I wouldn’t recommend them for critical systems.

They’ve proven to be more easily hackable. Some of the above password managers have gone through security reviews where browsers are still catching up.

Multifactor? Password vaulting? Mechanisms I mentioned above should be implemented to keep these passwords safe. They are the keys to the kingdom! Browsers aren’t there yet.

Conclusion

There are a good number of choices out there, including many uncovered here. The bottom line is a password manager is a huge help in keeping track of the mess of passwords that, even with face recognition and thumbprints, don’t seem to be going away quite as soon as we’d like.

(Josh likes to write about technology, spend time with his family, keep up with all the latest STEM news, and occasionally relax.)

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