Password managers: how do they work and which ones should you be installing this summer?

Posted by media on August 2, 2016 at 9:00 AM

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According to a Gizmodo survey, the most popular password combinations continue to be '123456' or the actual word 'password' - risky choices that largely explain the 500 million digital identities that were stolen in 2015 according to data from Symantec.

Using simple passwords satisfies a need to easily access the multitude of applications and digital services we use daily that require password authentication. The alternative actually is  to make a series of different, more complex passwords that are difficult, if not impossible to remember.

Given these two extremes, the ideal solution is to use a password manager. In this post we explain what is a password manager and how it can be used to secure your accounts before you set off on a summer holiday, allowing you to seamlessly access all your accounts upon your return and, above all, to never see your digital identity hacked.

This post is also available in Spanish.

Many people do not give too much importance to the fact that they use weak passwords to access their accounts, although this is the chief way that users have to ensure the safety and privacy of their personal data. But weak passwords are just about as good as not using one: passwords characterized as “safe” must contain at least 16 characters and combine uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.

Given the number of online services and applications that we use today, creating different “safe” passwords for each and every account, as well as remembering them all, is virtually mission impossible. To solve that there exist password managers, software programs that help us create secure passwords, store them in a safe place and manage them all from a single platform, meaning that a user only has to commit one password to memory.

What services do password managers offer?

Password management software offers the following services:

  • Random password generator
  • Centralized systems for the secure storage of all passwords
  • Easy access to all passwords through a single key
  • Encryption technologies for extra security
  • Warning system to detect any attempts of fraudulent access to your accounts



The top 3 password managers that you should consider before going on holidays

Below is a review of 3 top rated solutions to consider for the storage and management of your passwords before going on holidays:


LastPass

Originating in the United States with a European subsidiary in France, LastPass currently offers its services to users from 113 countries as well as multinational companies like Amazon, American Express and Yahoo. Its multiplatform character is a highly rated feature, and the tool is free for desktop and laptop computers. The mobile version includes some advanced features and requires a fee of about 11 per month. LastPass also has a noteworthy multi-factor authentication feature.


Dashlane

Dashlane is a platform combining a password manager with a digital wallet, offering users  solid protection of their passwords and access to a secure online payment system. Founded in 2009, Dashlane stands out for its user-friendly interface that supports advanced features such as two-step authentication. Among its benefits: Dashlane allows passwords to be shared with emergency contacts; the system allows you to quickly change digital credentials on several sites at once with a few clicks; and you can also turn on a sophisticated alert system that will warn you against possible fraudulent activity. On the downside, despite being a freemium platform, the cost is among the most expensive on the market, hovering around the 36 mark per month.


Keepass

Keepass is a free and open source platform, a condition  that has allowed third party plugins to flourish and thus extend its capabilities  beyond those of any competitor. However, its interface can be somewhat complex and does not allow cloud synchronization, meaning that it is not a recommendable tool for users with a basic knowledge of security issues.

Besides these three tools, there are many other options such as Roboform, 1Password or Sticky Passwords. Most are compatible with any mobile device and allow data synchronization with various platforms. Many also incorporate features for the encryption of credit cards.

The choice of one or the other will depend largely on your specific security needs as well as the price you are willing to pay. Whatever your choice, it is highly recommended to use a password manager to create secure passwords that allow you easy access to your accounts and services, while maintaining the control of your personal data and protecting the security of your digital identity.

This post is also available in Spanish.

 

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