We all know we should be using stronger passwords, selecting a range of letters, numbers and symbols, and not reusing the same password across different websites. But in reality, we all lead busy lives, and trying to remember different passwords used across hundreds of sites just isn’t practical.
The recent data leak involving LinkedIn should act as a reminder of the importance of good practice when it comes to password security. The breach reportedly exposed data from over 700 million users (more than 92% of its user base), and data including phone numbers, physical addresses and email addresses, as well as inferred salaries, has now found its way on to the dark web.
Fortunately, it is possible to take steps to protect yourself online, without the hassle of memorising all your different passwords.
A dedicated password manager stores your passwords in an encrypted form and allows you to easily access and manage your passwords for different sites across various devices.
Here’s a round-up of six of the most popular password security apps, in no particular order:
1Password is one of the safest password managers available, using AES 256-bit encryption to secure all data, as well as an SRP (Secure Remote Password) protocol to prevent hackers intercepting data sent to its server, which keeps master passwords, secret keys, and all other data safe.
As one of the most popular password managers, it has apps for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS as well as common browsers. Other benefits include intuitive password organisation and two-factor authentication.
TrustPilot review: 4.6 out of 5, based on 4,494 reviews.
Cost: Unfortunately there is no free version of 1Password, but there is a 14 day free trial and you can also book a free demo. Check pricing here.
Another impressive option on the security front, Dashlane uses unbreakable end-to-end encryption to secure user data. It also appears to be very user friendly, with processes for importing, generating, saving and sharing passwords all running smoothly.
One of the standout features of Dashlane is its virtual private network (VPN), providing unlimited secure web browsing. It also has an automatic password changer and live dark web monitor, triggering real-time alerts in cases of leaked email addresses.
TrustPilot review: 4.1 out of 5, based on 3,250 reviews.
Cost: There is a free plan available, which services 1 device and up to 50 logins as well as premium options.
LastPass is also a very secure option, and like 1Password, uses two-factor authentication options and military-grade encryption, as well as some advanced features like secure password sharing, dark web monitoring, and multiple recovery options. It’s also generally considered to be quite easy to use.
However, there are a few common complaints, including calls for an easier way to import passwords.
The other big drawback appears to be customer service. The reviews speak for themselves, but it seems that part of the problem appears to lie in finding a way to contact customer support in the first place.
TrustPilot review: 1.5 out of 5, based on 275 reviews.
Cost: Free and premium options available, as well as family plans. More info here.
Bitwarden is a solid low-cost alternative to most password security apps, but is still highly secure, with strong encryption, two-factor authentication and password breach monitoring.
Whilst it performs the basics well, there are reports that importing passwords can be a bit awkward, and that auto-fill and auto-save options can feel a little clunky.
TrustPilot review: 4.5 out of 5, based on 33 reviews.
Cost: There is a free option of Bitwarden available, and a paid version, too. See full pricing information.
As well as strong encryption methods and multi-factor authentication, Keeper also provides Touch IP and Face ID authentication, and a range of other security features like dark web monitoring and password security auditing.
It has an intuitive and easy to use dashboard, and comes with unlimited password storage. It’s also possible to add files and photos to password entries, although unfortunately Keeper doesn’t come with an automatic password changer like Dashlane and LastPass offer.
TrustPilot review: 4.6 out of 5, based on 2,691 reviews.
Cost: As well as a free version of Keeper, there are paid options available, and a 30-day free trial to take advantage of. Find more details here.
For Android and Chrome users, there’s also the option of Google’s own Password Manager, which covers most of the basic functions of a password security app, without the need to download an app or browser extension.
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