How To: Manage Passwords Securely

Passwords are often the only thing standing between your private data and people who would like to steal it. Creating and managing secure passwords can be difficult, but password management tools make it much simpler. Here’s how to use them to keep your data private.

The best way to make sure all of your passwords are strong and secure is to use a password manager. Password manager programs remember all of the passwords you use for different websites and apps for you.

To access your passwords, you just need to remember one master password. Your password manager handles the rest.

We recommend using one of these password managers:

  • KeePass: a free and open source password app that supports all the major operating systems (although you need a third-party plugin for iOS and Android).
  • LastPass: feature-rich and robust, this one also supports all major platforms. It’s free but you have to pay for a premium version if you want automatic syncing between devices.
  • 1Password: works as a browser-based plugin. Ideal if most of the passwords you use are for websites (rather than standalone apps).

These password managers will automatically create random, super-secure passwords for each account you have. That makes it effectively impossible for anyone to guess or brute-force your password for a website or app. Also, because each account has a unique password, this means that if someone is able to break into one of your accounts, the damage will be limited to that account.

Of course, using a password manager effectively requires a strong master password. For tips on making a strong master password, see our article here.

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