Top 3 Password Managers – From an IT Pro’s Perspective

If you’re like me, you both abhor and lament having to change your password. Let’s face it, remembering 15 different passwords that are constantly changing is a task simply not suited for our monkey brains. I know all this may sound a bit like an oxymoron coming from an IT guy, but you can take comfort in the fact that the professionals have just as hard of a time as everyone else! 

So why are IT guys seemingly so good at remembering passwords and helping you recover them? Quite simply, we have specific tools for remembering them (you’re in on the secret now!) – invisible ink, Davinci puzzle locks and a robot called Hal… just to name a few. But seriously, all jokes aside, password managers are our best friend. 

Password managers have come a long way in the last few years. There are dozens of password managers and password solutions on the market right now; some of them free, some of them paid. We’ve taken the liberty of compiling a few of our favorite options for you below! But first, here are a few General Security Tips: 

Keep your device physically safe and securely password protected. If somebody walks off with your device and you’ve not password protected it, they just gained access to your entire life.  

Use Multi Factor Authentication (MFA). If somebody steals your password, MFA will stop them from signing in if they’re using an unrecognized device. So, if someone in China or Russia steals a password, they won’t be able to log into your account (this is good) 

Only type in your password if you’re sure you’re on a safe site. There are a lot of fake sites and bad links floating around the internet right now. If you’re prompted to type in your password after clicking on a link, make sure that the website address looks correct. Be wary of websites not using .com, .org, .net, or .gov addresses.  

A few of our favorite Password Managers: 

  1. Default Browser Password Managers. Most of you are probably already using a browser password manager. On Chrome, Firefox, Edge and Safari, you’ll get a little popup saying, “do you want us to remember your password?”. That is the built-in password manager supplied by the browser manufacturer. While these are certainly convenient, they aren’t the perfect or even the optimal solution; but the way we see it is that any secure tool you can use to remember your slough of passwords (all while keeping you secure) is a win. So, here’s what you need to know about Default Browser Password Managers – 
     
    Passwords, usernames and preferences are tied to your email address. 
    • Benefit: If you know your email address and password, you can synchronize your browser settings and passwords on any computer!
    • Risk: If somebody else knows your email address and password, they can synchronize your browser settings and passwords on any computer (very bad). 
    • Security Tip: Use a very strong and unique email password that is different from all your other passwords. Also use Multi-Factor Authentication on your email address for extra security. 
  1. LastPass. This is a great option if you’re looking for a free password manager. Once you’ve created an account and installed the browser extensions (part of the account setup), LastPass behaves very similarly to a default browser password manager by auto populating usernames and passwords into forms. An added benefit is you can also store credit card and billing information (if you choose to do so) to make online shopping a bit easier. Additionally, the database in the cloud which stores your passwords is heavily encrypted, meaning if the LastPass servers are hacked, your passwords will still be secure. 
    • Benefit: Simple, Easy to use, Free (premium versions available). 
    • Risk: LastPass requires you to use a master password for you to utilize it. If this master password is ever compromised, your entire library of passwords will be compromised. Because of this, it’s important to have MFA enabled on your accounts. 
    • Security Tip: Activate MFA on your account, keep your master password extremely secure and secret (share it with NOBODY). 
  1. Keeper. This is a great option if you have no issues paying some money for a password manager (which I recommend everyone to do). Keeper has an incredibly easy-to-use interface and has apps available for all major platforms. LastPass has compatibility on a wide range of devices as well, but we found Keeper to be superior in ease of use and compatibility. Keeper also connects to multiple cyber security sites that keep track of data breaches and will automatically warn you if a data breach on one of your accounts has been detected.  
    • Benefit: Even simpler than LastPass, better compatibility across websites and devices. 
    • Risk: Keeper requires you to use a master password for you to utilize it. If this master password is ever compromised, your entire library of passwords will be compromised. Therefore, it’s important to have MFA enabled on your accounts. 
    • Security Tip: Activate MFA on your account, keep your master password extremely secure and secret (share it with NOBODY). 

At the end of the day, we recommend you spend 30 minutes during a lunchbreak or a boring meeting to investigate using a password manager. If you’re not using a password manager, chances are you’re writing passwords down at your desk or re-using the same passwords repeatedly across sites. Having your email address hacked is akin to having your identity stolen; investing 30 minutes out of your day to set up a password manager will not only give you peace of mind, it will keep you safer. 

Give our office a call if you have any questions! 

Kitsap Networking Services, Inc. & Sequim I.T.

360-516-6741

info@kitsapnetworking.com

Article written by Gianni – KNS & Sequim I.T. engineer