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Password managers: how they help you remember multiple unique passwords

Submitted by admin on Tue, 10/05/2021 - 17:44

There has been a lot of advice on the use of strong passwords, one of which includes the use of long and unique passwords for different accounts. Using long and unique passwords is great, but remembering them for each account sometimes becomes challenging especially when there are so many different accounts ranging from social media accounts to banking applications to email apps, etc.

Reusing the same password across different accounts can be dangerous. A cybercriminal might steal one of your passwords, and then use it to try and access other accounts. This means they could quickly break into several of your accounts despite only knowing one password.

What is a password manager?

A password manager is an app on your phone, tablet, or computer that saves your passwords securely, so you don’t need to remember them all. Some password managers can also create random, unique passwords for you when you need to create a new password (or change an existing one).

What types of password managers are available?

You may already be using a password manager without knowing it. Many are built into your internet browser (such as Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, or Firefox), or are part of the operating system on your smartphone or tablet. You may have noticed when you sign in to an account, a box appears asking you if you want the browser (or device) to remember your password. If you are not sharing the device with anyone else, then it is safe to tick the box. If it doesn't offer to save your password, you may need to turn this option on in your device settings.

Standalone password manager apps are also available to download, many of which can be installed on different types of devices, and with extra features like the ability to create good passwords for you. It's worth finding online reviews of the password managers you're considering and deciding on the features you need (and the support the vendor provides) before choosing one that's right for you.

How do I protect my password manager?

While the use of password managers is very important to help you rememberer your passwords,  it is even more important to use the measures available to protect them because if a criminal gains access to it, they'll potentially have access to all your passwords and associated accounts. You also need to take steps to make sure you can always get in yourself, so you don't lose access to all your passwords.

We strongly recommend that you:

  • Set up two-factor authentication on the password manager account. If you have the option, set up more than one type of the second factor so you have a backup plan to get into your password manager account.
  • Install updates for your password manager app as soon as you're prompted to update. If you're using your browser, always make sure you are using the latest version and you keep this up to date.
  • Choose a strong password for the password manager account.

Note that if you're using a built-in password manager through your browser or device, they may be protected by one of your existing accounts. For example, passwords saved on Apple devices are protected by your AppleID, and passwords saved in Google's Chrome browser will be protected by your Google (or Gmail) account if you are logged in.

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