Every website out there these days seems to require that you register before you can actually do anything useful on it. And each of them has their own complicated set of rules for what constitutes an acceptable password – some insist on a few capital letters, others want a number or a special character of some sort. While these requirements may be increasing security, they also ensure that passwords are made to be forgotten. The situation has gotten so bad that many now use the Forgot Password button as their default method of accessing a website. And if you’re like my dad who keeps forgetting even his email password on a regular basis, even that isn’t going to work for you.
Also Read: The Slow Demise of Privacy
Thankfully, there is a better way – password managers, which can store all your passwords from across the web, securely, and make them available to you whenever and wherever you need them. You’ll only need to remember one password to unlock the software itself. Which of course, means that my dad is still out of luck. But for the rest of you, read on, there’s hope yet.
Dashlane is the johnny-come-lately that’s surpassed its predecessors. It has gone way beyond the realm of traditional password management with some of its features which include the ability to reset multiple passwords from within the app, notifications when an account is hacked, centralised e-commerce purchase tracking and even a built-in digital wallet that makes accounts unnecessary on most e-commerce websites. Of course, the extra flash doesn’t mean it neglects its basic duties. Front and centre in its interface is the security score that Dashlane calculates on the basis of the security of all your passwords – a constant reminder that abc123 simply isn’t good enough.
Probably the most popular password manager out there, LastPass has a wealth of features that make it the preferred choice of millions of users. It not only stores and syncs passwords across devices, it also has a built-in password generator and also audits your existing passwords to tell you which ones are weak and in need of change. However, LastPass syncs its passwords through the cloud, which is less than desirable for such confidential data.
The only totally free password manager on this list, KeePass is open source software at its best. While its interface isn’t exactly the prettiest, and configuring it takes a fair bit of patience, it has most of the same features as the rest and works across platforms. It also allows you to control exactly where your data is stored and how it is synced, which earn it extra brownie points from the ultra-paranoid. KeePass, in keeping with the open source spirit, is the only password manager that allows you to export your data
1Password started life as a Mac-exclusive, exemplifying the pretty user interface and ease of use that we’ve come to associate with software on Apple’s platform. It has since embraced the cross-platform world, taking its best features to Windows as well as the mobile world. Like KeePass, it also allows you to store and sync your data outside of the cloud, which means there’s one less place for it to be accessed by hackers.