Get a Password Manager. No More Excuses.
That’s the hard part. Once you’ve committed that master password to memory, though, the password manager does everything else for you. It stores credential pairs when you enter them into websites, so you never need to manually enter them again, and it makes it easier to change your existing passwords, so you can update all the times you used “password789.”
Managers offer a random password generator tool in which you can control things like the length and number of special characters you want. And password managers can store lots of data, not just login credentials. They’re a good place to keep things like credit card numbers and insurance information, and most can even store files like PDFs or photos. They’re generally not the most convenient place to keep all your files, but it makes sense to use them for storing things like tax forms and photos of your driver’s license.
1Password is known for prioritizing strong, deliberate security, and has had few notable lapses or breaches since its release in 2006. (Though not none, of course.) It’s slightly more expensive than other options at $36 per year for one person, $60 per year for a family of up to five people, or $65 for a one-time, single-user purchase. 1Password was originally developed for Apple products, but it has steadily expanded its offerings for Windows, Android, and ChromeOS. 1Password is engineered with a lot of options to control where your data goes, who holds it, and what your risk is. There are ways to use 1Password without storing any data in any cloud if that’s a priority to you, and it can also act as a two-factor authentication manager, like Google Authenticator or Authy. And as noted above, 1Password has never offered autofilling as an option, much less a default.
LastPass is one of the most popular and well-known password managers out there. It works with numerous platforms and users can access most of its features for free. The Premium offering, which includes a gigabyte of encrypted file storage, expanded support for two-factor authentication tokens like YubiKeys, and special customer service, is only $24 per year. LastPass has all the required features of storing your credentials and other sensitive data and letting you access them through standalone applications or browser extensions. It helps you change your passwords easily when needed and offers granular controls for things like autofilling so users can choose how they want the manager to behave. The main drawback to LastPass is its mixed security track record—the product has had a number of high-profile, critical bugs and there have even been some data breaches. Overall, LastPass has weathered these storms, but it’s worth noting.