We all know we’re not supposed to re-use passwords. Password security is tricky. We have heard the security experts telling us for years that it is dangerous to use the same password for multiple websites or accounts. Once a hacker gets your password from one site, the logic goes, they have your password everywhere.
But we all do it anyway. It was reasonable advice to give back when you had a secure password to your computer, your email, and maybe your bank. But with the cloud proliferating, we can easily have dozens or even hundreds of accounts. It’s like exercising every day and not eating sugar. We all know it’s a good idea, but we all know we’re not going to do it.
Password Managers: A better way to handle passwords
Here’s a novel idea: let technology fix the problem that technology has caused. Computers are really great at remembering things, even hundreds of passwords – you can use your own to strengthen your password security! How?
Password managers give you the best of both worlds: One secure password gets you into all your websites, and all of your websites have different passwords!
Here’s how it works. You install a piece of software on your computer and give it a strong “master” password. Then, when you sign up for a new website, it will see what you’re doing and ask, “would you like me to remember this password for you?” It can even generate secure passwords for you so you don’t have to think about it. Once you have everything set up, you’ll only ever need to remember two passwords, one for your computer and one for your password manager.
Our Suggestion for Password Security
There are a lot of good password managers out there, but we are going to recommend LastPass. It is very secure, easy to install, easy to use, and free! (They also have a paid version with advanced features.)
Plus, everything is stored securely in the cloud. This means you can safely sync all of your passwords across all your computers and mobile devices—Windows, Mac, Linux, iPhone, iPad, Android phones and tablets, even Blackberry.
The security-conscious among us understand it’s hard to trust whether a company is telling you the truth about their security. LastPass let a well-respected independent auditor examine their code, and he gives it a thumbs up!
LastPass double- and triple-encrypts everything while it is on your computer, including your master password, before passing it all up to the cloud. This way, no one from the company has any way to access your passwords.
How To Start
Getting started with the LastPass password manager is easy: go to the website and install it. It will ask you for a username and password. Then, just open your preferred internet browser like normal. As you enter passwords, LastPass will offer to save them for you. When it alerts you of a website that has the same password as another, just change this as it comes up. It’s that easy!