Are Password Managers Safe?

Introduction

The vast majority of us tend to use weak passwords or reuse passwords on multiple online accounts. This makes us more susceptible to crimes such as identity theft. This is where Password Management programs come in. Password management software will generate, retrieve, and keep track of long, complicated, and randomized passwords across countless accounts for you, all stored behind a single master password. Password management software also protects all your vital online info, such as PINs, credit card numbers and their three-digit CVV codes, answers to security questions, and more - using encryption strong enough that a hacker would need decades of time just to crack it all.

In this regard, Password management software seems too good to be true. Which begs the question: Are Password management programs safe? This guide will explore more about Password management software programs to help answer that very question.

LastPass manager log in screen

1 What Are Password Management Programs?

What are Password Management programs?

Password management software programs help keep you safe by generating and keeping track of long, complicated, and randomized passwords across countless accounts for you. Password management software also protects all other vital online information that you might enter on the web, such as PIN numbers, credit card numbers and their three-digit CVV codes, answers to security questions, and much more. You'll use a single Master Password to unlock access to your Password management program, and it will then be able to log into all the different sites and apps you use, using the library of strong passwords it has stored and accumulated for you.

How Do They Work?

Password managers generate passwords that are long, complex, and almost impossible to remember. This makes them very secure, impossible to be guessed, and nearly impervious to different "cracking" techniques. Your password management software will store all the passwords it generates for you. The only password you need to remember is your password management program's master password.

Here's an example to help contrast the difference between a user created password vs. something a password management program would generate for you:

Common User Created Password Generated By Password Management Software
Fluffy55 ^>E\+Jw#M%Nc7]fqZMp_9jmH

LastPass generation of password

2 Are Password Managers Safe?

Are Password Managers Safe?

Because Password management software is designed to be a single program that helps you store, organize, and encrypt your passwords for all of your online accounts, many question the idea of safety behind keeping all your passwords stored in one place.

From a safety standpoint, using a password management program that generates strong, complex passwords that are different for every online account is a far better and safer alternative than reusing the same two or three weak passwords across all of those same accounts. Password management software will typically store all of the complex passwords it generates inside of a "vault" behind strong encryption. This "vault" is also typically stored and saved online by the manufacturer of your password management software program. This ensures that your password "vault" is available to all of your devices provided you know your master password. Additionally, most password managers also offer Two-Factor authentication. This added layer of security means that only you have access the "vault" of your vitally important information.

While not all password management software solutions are created equally, most are far safer comparatively to the behaviors and practices that most users employ for password management currently.

A vault with multi-colored keys stored within. Illustration.

Not sure what Two-Factor Authentication is? Learn more about adding an extra layer of security to your accounts by clicking the "Show Me How" button below.

Show Me How

Clicking this button will open a new guide that will provide you with steps to resolve your issue.

3 Types of Password Managers

What Password Managers Are Out There?

Choosing a Password management software program is a matter of personal preference. There are many to choose from on the market, and each one has slightly different feature sets. Some of the most popular Password management programs are:

  1. 1Password
    1Password icon and blurb
    • Uses AES-256 encryption
    • Free for 30 days
    • Sync other devices
    • Offers two-factor authentication

  2. Dashlane
    Dashlane icon and blurb
    • Gives you the option of saving your passwords to their cloud or to your own computer.
    • Free for one system
    • Paid option to sync other devices
    • Browser extension to grade your passwords and change weak ones

  3. LastPass
    Lastpass icon and blurb
    • Cloud based
    • Free 
    • Paid option for more security and features
    • Browser extension to grade your passwords and change weak ones
    • Offers desktop apps

4 Getting Started with Your Password Manager

Getting started with any Password management software is roughly the same, and is generally fairly simple. You'll first download and install software and an extension for whatever web browser you use. Some do not require software at all, and simply use a web browser extension only. Certain password management software programs also offer an app for your mobile phone or tablet, so your password "vault" can be accessed across all of your devices.

The process for setting things up will vary depending on the password management software service you've chosen, but most are very user friendly and will guide you through the setup process to get you started and help secure your online identity.

Lastpass setup. Screenshot.

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The vast majority of us tend to use weak passwords or reuse passwords on multiple online accounts. This makes us more susceptible to crimes such as identity theft. This is where Password Management programs come in. Password management software will generate, retrieve, and keep track of long, complicated, and randomized passwords across countless accounts for you, all stored behind a single master password. Password management software also protects all your vital online info, such as PINs, credit card numbers and their three-digit CVV codes, answers to security questions, and more - using encryption strong enough that a hacker would need decades of time just to crack it all.

In this regard, Password management software seems too good to be true. Which begs the question: Are Password management programs safe? This guide will explore more about Password management software programs to help answer that very question.

LastPass manager log in screen

What are Password Management programs?

Password management software programs help keep you safe by generating and keeping track of long, complicated, and randomized passwords across countless accounts for you. Password management software also protects all other vital online information that you might enter on the web, such as PIN numbers, credit card numbers and their three-digit CVV codes, answers to security questions, and much more. You'll use a single Master Password to unlock access to your Password management program, and it will then be able to log into all the different sites and apps you use, using the library of strong passwords it has stored and accumulated for you.

How Do They Work?

Password managers generate passwords that are long, complex, and almost impossible to remember. This makes them very secure, impossible to be guessed, and nearly impervious to different "cracking" techniques. Your password management software will store all the passwords it generates for you. The only password you need to remember is your password management program's master password.

Here's an example to help contrast the difference between a user created password vs. something a password management program would generate for you:

Common User Created Password Generated By Password Management Software
Fluffy55 ^>E\+Jw#M%Nc7]fqZMp_9jmH

LastPass generation of password

Are Password Managers Safe?

Because Password management software is designed to be a single program that helps you store, organize, and encrypt your passwords for all of your online accounts, many question the idea of safety behind keeping all your passwords stored in one place.

From a safety standpoint, using a password management program that generates strong, complex passwords that are different for every online account is a far better and safer alternative than reusing the same two or three weak passwords across all of those same accounts. Password management software will typically store all of the complex passwords it generates inside of a "vault" behind strong encryption. This "vault" is also typically stored and saved online by the manufacturer of your password management software program. This ensures that your password "vault" is available to all of your devices provided you know your master password. Additionally, most password managers also offer Two-Factor authentication. This added layer of security means that only you have access the "vault" of your vitally important information.

While not all password management software solutions are created equally, most are far safer comparatively to the behaviors and practices that most users employ for password management currently.

A vault with multi-colored keys stored within. Illustration.

Not sure what Two-Factor Authentication is? Learn more about adding an extra layer of security to your accounts by clicking the "Show Me How" button below.

Show Me How

Clicking this button will open a new guide that will provide you with steps to resolve your issue.

What Password Managers Are Out There?

Choosing a Password management software program is a matter of personal preference. There are many to choose from on the market, and each one has slightly different feature sets. Some of the most popular Password management programs are:

  1. 1Password
    1Password icon and blurb
    • Uses AES-256 encryption
    • Free for 30 days
    • Sync other devices
    • Offers two-factor authentication

  2. Dashlane
    Dashlane icon and blurb
    • Gives you the option of saving your passwords to their cloud or to your own computer.
    • Free for one system
    • Paid option to sync other devices
    • Browser extension to grade your passwords and change weak ones

  3. LastPass
    Lastpass icon and blurb
    • Cloud based
    • Free 
    • Paid option for more security and features
    • Browser extension to grade your passwords and change weak ones
    • Offers desktop apps

Getting started with any Password management software is roughly the same, and is generally fairly simple. You'll first download and install software and an extension for whatever web browser you use. Some do not require software at all, and simply use a web browser extension only. Certain password management software programs also offer an app for your mobile phone or tablet, so your password "vault" can be accessed across all of your devices.

The process for setting things up will vary depending on the password management software service you've chosen, but most are very user friendly and will guide you through the setup process to get you started and help secure your online identity.

Lastpass setup. Screenshot.

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