If we want to be more precise, perhaps the question should be “why am I not using a password manager yet?” Security experts say it is the best way to make sure that all accounts you have registered on the sites you regularly visit have unbreakable passwords.
Since all major password management software has a browser add-on, importing your existing account credentials and saving the new ones to the program becomes ridiculously easy. Most password managers evaluate the strength of each of your passwords or even notify you if the site you are visiting has been affected by a security breach. No matter why the password has to be changed, users can make the necessary modifications with a flick of a switch, even using the built-in password generator or, in certain cases, fetch a new password from the online password generator of the same company.
You don’t need to worry about remembering those complex passwords either: the use of the password manager only requires knowing a so-called master password. Other login credentials are either stored in the cloud or on your device and are either immediately displayed when logging in to the chosen site or the program logs you in automatically. These programs are also capable of importing password spreadsheets – provided it is in a format the manager can handle – but the process works the other way around as well.
Not to mention such a program works across different platforms, meaning that passwords from a number of various devices (e.g. smartphones and tablets) that the software is installed on can be imported into your password manager account. Speaking of smart devices, if you want to add an extra layer of security, the vast majority of password managers provide the so-called two-factor authentication (2FA) that makes breaking into your accounts virtually impossible.
And as a little extra password manager users can share their passwords with others via a secure environment, while other data can also be stored in the very same safe storage your passwords are kept in.
And What About the Disadvantages?
Unfortunately, since password managers are programs that heavily rely on the internet, they are vulnerable to hacker attacks. The biggest security concerns are usually related to the mobile apps and the browser add-ons, which are the most sensitive parts of these programs and more commonly the least secure aspects of a user’s digital life. But thankfully when a security breach hits any of the password manager companies, they immediately alert users informing them of what needs to be done to minimize the damage and quickly release any necessary patches.
A bigger problem not related to security is that the free versions of password managers are limited: although this kind of software operates with ridiculously low monthly fees, they often omit the most crucial features from the free version, risking the data of those using the software for free. And as an added bit of funny trivia, the man who originally created the whole ‘use complex passwords everywhere’ concept has confessed that the idea may be ineffective after all; in other words, some people believe it’s better to stick to a strong password you can easily remember than rely on an incomprehensible line of characters that password generators and managers create for us.
Still, even with the above disadvantages in mind, having a limited free password manager with only the most essential features is better than having no password protection at all and offering your most precious data on a silver plate.
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