It amazes me that there are millions of people who don’t utilize password managers and are okay with it! I mean, how do you survive? After my online presence started becoming disorganized, I became aware of password managers. Tech-savvy as I am, I have like a thousand accounts, and trying to remember just the email address I used for registration was a nightmare. We haven’t talked about the passwords yet, with some of the platforms requiring complex passwords! And they are justified! Trying to remember all of that was just tiring, so I had to find a way to avoid it. Then I came across password managers, which are nothing new, but people don’t realize their value and importance. So let’s break it down so you understand how they can save you so much time and stress!
What Is a Password Manager?
Password managers are programs that generate new, randomly generated passwords for all of the websites you visit. They keep these credentials safe in a virtual vault for you. The password manager then fills in your login name and password for you when you visit a site or open an app that requires them. Most password managers can also save you time by filling in personal information such as your name, address, and credit card number on web forms during account creation or checkout when making an online purchase. Some password organizers can also store vital papers or other credentials in the vault, such as safe codes and medical information.
The finest password organizers will tell you whether your current passwords are weak, reused, or have been compromised. These tools aid with password hygiene by recommending fresh, strong, and unique credentials for each login. Set your password manager to generate passwords that are at least 20 characters long and contain all of the major character kinds, including uppercase, lowercase, digits, and symbols.
What are the risks of using a password manager?
Of course, There’s no way to stay 100% safe online, and password managers are no exception. You’ve probably heard the phrase “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” With a password manager, you’ll be doing exactly that. Credit card information and secure notes are likely to be included in the basket. Blocking all payment options and changing passwords for all accounts in the event of a breach may give the attacker ample time to cause damage.
Again, Not all gadgets are safe to use. Hackers use the same vulnerability to obtain all of your login credentials in a single attempt. If your device is infected with malware, password managers can be hacked. In this situation, inputting the master password will cause it to be captured, giving attackers complete access to the data. To mitigate the hazards, password manager users should first spend in safeguarding all of their devices.
Is a password manager safe? Can password managers be trusted?
Password managers secure your passwords in multiple ways – that’s why they are so safe to use. Although they can be hacked, much like anything else, such a scenario is highly unlikely provided you take the necessary precautions. Social engineering, phishing, and other tactics are far easier for attackers to use than actually cracking a strong password.
So what makes them safe?
Password managers protect your passwords first and foremost by encrypting them using 256-bit AES, which is an extremely strong industry standard, and it is also used by the military. Attempting to crack this cipher with brute force would take more than a lifetime, so a brute-force attack would be unlikely. Password managers also use zero-knowledge architecture, to protect your data from themselves. That is, your passwords are encrypted before they are sent to the password manager. The provider does not have the tools to decipher them once they arrive on the company’s server. For the technical guys, this guy explains better
Almost all password managers require you to use a master password to access your vault. You can be confident that your other passwords will be safe if this one is secure. For enhanced database security, two-factor authentication (2FA) is also recommended. Using biometric authentication, such as fingerprint or face scan, is also a good idea. Finally, password managers have multiple features aimed at securing your passwords.
When it comes to security, the most crucial thing you can do is set a master password, which you’ll need to access all of your other passwords. As a result, make sure it’s a powerful one. It must be at least 12 characters long, contain a variety of symbols, and be unguessable. Check this tutorial on how to build a strong password for additional information.
Which password manager type is the most secure?
Password managers can be divided into three categories. Each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, as well as security considerations. Let’s go over each category one by one to see which is the safest
Browser-based password managers
The basic built-in password managers in browsers, which I will discuss below briefly, which I would not recommend of course, but can get the job done
Cloud-based password managers
These are the most common password managers, that come in different variations, with most of them getting the job done but not making it to my list of recommendations. This boils down to security and privacy.
most cloud-based password managers provide a backup for your vault. cloud-based password managers allow doing the actual job of a password manager by allowing you to store not only passwords but also secure notes and credit card details. They can detect reused and weak passwords, generate strong ones and check if your accounts haven’t leaked
Desktop-based password managers
These do everything locally, and their security is not guaranteed because it heavily depends on who is using them. These password managers store your data locally, on one of your devices. That device doesn’t have to be connected to the internet, so there might be nearly zero chances of hacking into it. The most likely (and still highly unlikely) scenario is you inadvertently installing a keylogger and typing in your master password.
Why Browser-Based Password Managers Aren’t Ideal
It comes down to focus, which is why security experts advocate using a dedicated password manager. Other concerns have taken precedence for web browsers, leaving little time for them to improve their password manager. Most of them, for example, will not generate strong passwords for you, leaving you with “123456.” Password managers that are dedicated to a single aim have been adding useful functionality for years. This, in theory, should result in increased security.
What if your password manager gets hacked?
In the vast majority of circumstances, a compromise does not result in all of your passwords falling into the wrong hands. Although the most secure password manager could have a severe flaw that has gone unnoticed.
Let’s start with a scenario where your passwords are secured locally. Because password managers follow a zero-knowledge policy, they have no method of deciphering your information. If a hacker gains access to your vault, he will only see encrypted data. The attacker has a low probability of gaining access to your physical device by stealing it, installing malware, or logging keystrokes. Even then, your master password will be required. If you employ biometric data, such as a fingerprint or a facial ID, the chances of a successful attack drop to zero.
The same thing applies to cloud password managers. In the case where hackers attack password managers, the attacks are usually not that damaging. Sure, flaws are revealed, but they are also patched quickly. And, in most circumstances, the attacker would need to either gain more data from the user or entirely take over the user’s device before being able to enter the vault. As a result, none of the aforementioned difficulties have had a negative impact on the reputation of password managers.
Why would I pick a premium password manager?
The majority of premium password managers are far more secure than the majority of free password managers. The latter is frequently buggy, developed by dubious firms, and may even contain malware. Despite this, there are some excellent free password managers available that are just as secure as commercial services. Many of the former come with a free version. As a result, comparing them and determining what is lacking is a good idea.
Password managers, both free and paid, typically feature military-grade encryption and zero-knowledge design. This means that even if someone breaks into your database, they won’t be able to decode it. In addition, the provider does not have a key to unlock your data. That’s why it all boils down to utilizing a strong master password, two-factor authentication, and keeping your devices clear of malware.
So, Which is the best password manager?
Here is where many professionals differ greatly because the quality of the managers depends on what the person is looking for. For me, security and privacy is my top priority! And that’s why Bitwarden has to be on my list! And guess what, most of these recommended managers are open source!🥳 Isn’t that cool 😎? Having tested them, I would recommend the following password managers. But again, it will depend on what you would term as best value! However, I will do a detailed review of each password manager I will mention below. Subscribe to get notified once I publish the articles.
Bitwarden is our top choice. You can import your previous passwords from other password managers with ease. Free for personal use. Available for Desktop, all Browsers, Android, and iOS.
Bitwarden offers three password manager plans: a free basic version, which will be in enough in most cases, a premium version for $10 per year, and a family version for $40 per year. The free edition allows you to sync all of your devices with Bitwarden and generate secure passwords, but it is limited to one user.
If you like Bitwarden but don’t like syncing or storage of passwords then LessPass is your choice. Browsers, mobile phones, and the command line are supported platforms.
Securely store passwords using industry-standard encryption, quickly auto-type them into desktop applications, and use a browser extension to log into websites. KeePassDX for Android: Google Play or F-Droid.
Why Not the rest?
I know some of you may be questioning why some prominent managers like Lastpass, 1password, and the rest, haven’t made it to my recommendations. My major reason, or rather concern, is privacy and security. Besides, there are several concerns which I will highlight in my next article. Stay Tuned!
What about using password managers for business use?
There are a number of solutions for business use cases. One of them is Single Sign-On (SSO) Password Managers. Single sign-on password managers make it possible to use a single password for all web services and applications, making it more safe and convenient than requiring separate credentials for each. Employees can effortlessly access the sites and apps they need to do their jobs while eliminating the hassle of managing and sharing different passwords with this type of password manager. To request authentication, SSO sends tokens to the site or app.
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