What is a password manager and how does it make you safer?

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A lot of us tend to start our day by logging into our email, social media accounts or the Spotify playlist. For some, that means too many username and password combinations to remember. Many of us simply resort to using the same weak password on multiple websites in order to avoid the headache of forgetting our login information.

The solution is a password manager. But what is a password manager, and how exactly does it work?

  • A password manager can be an app, an online tool, or part of an internet browser.
  • One common feature of password apps is automated login.
  • A password management tool uses a master password to keep things secure.

What is a password manager?

Password manager is a digital vault that stores your login information and offers the safest way to protect your accounts.

This is an essential tool in a world where online users have a dozen accounts across multiple websites. Using the same passwords for these accounts is essentially an invitation to hackers, especially when it comes to financial data.

This is where a password manager app comes into play. The app can also be part of a web browser or an online tool with features like automatic login and an additional layer of security in the form of a master password.

Why use a password manager?

There are a number of very important reasons to get a password manager. If you are using the internet for anything more than mere entertainment, then ignoring  password programs is not advisable.

These apps are designed to safeguard our digital information behind encryption and another password. Much like the instructions from your bank that remind you not to write your credit card PIN on a paper and carry it around, the login details for your online accounts should be safely tucked away in a password management software. And then there is the matter of convenience.

Trying to remember dozens of username and password combinations is simply impractical. Password management  should not be handled by our fickle memory. Putting all that into a password vault allows you to focus on more productive things.

Speaking of convenience, a lot of these utilities have some interesting features that make everyday web surfing a breeze. One of those is the automated login feature. Imagine having a bunch of services you use every day, checking out updates or engaging with other users in serious discussions. But each of those websites or apps requires a login. Moreover, you might have disabled cookies in your browser, so you need to type in a bunch of usernames and passwords every single day. What is a password manager doing in this case? It checks the website you’re trying to log into, searches its database for all the passwords you previously saved, and then enters the login information for you. In case you have multiple accounts, you’ll have to choose which one to log into, while the password software does all the heavy lifting. Most internet browsers have had this feature for quite a long time, while dedicated password programs adopted it later.

Another feature in nearly every advanced password manager is to double up as a password generator app. Refreshing your passwords from time to time is a good way to guarantee security, but coming up with a lot of new passwords can be a nuisance. That’s why even a free password manager can generate new passwords for you based on the criteria you’ve set beforehand. The only thing left is to save this new login information into your password app. With that being said, not every single password keeper app has this feature, especially the internet browsers. While Google’s password generator is integrated into Chrome, Mozilla’s Firefox doesn’t have this feature at all.

Password apps, online safety and you

So, how do password managers work?  tNow that we’ve gone through all of the standard features of password management tools, we can say that we have a pretty good idea. This leads us to another obvious question.How safe is my password if I use a manager app?

Unfortunately your account can be compromised whether you use an app to store all your login data or not. Data breaches are increasingly common today with some platforms like Facebook reporting massive breaches involving millions of accounts. A password safe isn’t worth much if it can be easily compromised by hackers. So, what is a password manager’s purpose here? Aside from the aforementioned features, newer account managers can also check whether you have reused passwords and if the passwords are complex enough. Some of these programs can even have reminders for updating your credentials, so your login details are always up to date.

A commonly asked question is, are password managers safe? The short answer is yes. As long as the user is aware of the potential harm of losing their master password.

Bottom line

No matter how secure a password manager is, the ultimate responsibility for ensuring our security online falls onto our shoulders. It’s up to us to remember to store the passwords, never reuse them, update them from time to time, and manually take care of our password management.

But a password manager is undoubtedly a neat little feature of the digital world. These tools are incredibly handy for our numerous accounts. Our article covered the basics: what is a password manager and the most common features. Now, it’s time for you to give one of these password apps a try.