Forget all your passwords. Get a password manager

Forget all your passwords. Get a password manager

Welcome back to Tech Tip January! I hope you were able to take a breath over the weekend.

How many online accounts do you have? Think about email, Facebook, banks & credit cards, insurance companies, Netflix, Apple, Amazon and all those random stores you bought something from once. You’ve probably got dozens! How do you keep track of all of them? A recent study found that 60% of respondents re-use passwords between accounts. That’s a really, really bad idea.

If one service you use suffers from a breach where passwords are leaked, the attackers can try your email & password on a ton of other sites and maybe get access to your accounts.

Tomorrow, we’ll talk more about password hygiene. Today’s first step is simple: sign up for a password manager.

A password manager is a piece of software you can put on your phones and computers. You store all of your accounts and passwords in the password manager, like a big Excel sheet – but much more secure and convenient. All you have to remember is one master password to unlock your password manager and get access to all your other passwords. Once you’ve stored them in the password manager, you can forget all the other passwords!

Picking a password manager

My personal recommendation is 1Password. It’s $35.88/year if you pay for the year up front. I’ve been using 1Password for years and have found it to be extremely easy to use with great software and support.

Free options include Bitwarden and LastPass. Bitwarden is mostly comparable to 1Password but not as slick. LastPass is a well-known password manager but I find it hard to navigate and use.

Ultimately, sign up for the one that feels best to you after looking at their websites. They all support Mac, Windows and Linux computers, Android and iPhone devices, and have plugins for all the popular web browsers.

Next Steps

Pick one, then set up your account. Follow the instructions and pick a master password that’s long. If you’re given an account key or backup key, store it somewhere safe – you’ll use that if you need help getting into your account.

Install the password manager software on all of your devices – phones, tablets, laptops & other computers. Then, on your computers, open your web browser and install the browser extension (1Password, Bitwarden, LastPass). The browser extension works by filling out your passwords in web forms automatically for you! No worrying about copy & paste.

Take some time to poke around your password manager and get to know how it works. Maybe create some folders that will help you organize your passwords later (1Password calls them Vaults): Finances, Social Media, Shopping, etc.

Tomorrow, we’ll take on getting your passwords into your password manager and talk about what makes a good password.