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Passwords are the keys to our kingdom, they protect and control access to almost everything we do including our online accounts, mobile devices, laptops, and WiFi networks.  However, passwords are also one of the most complex and confusing parts about securing ourselves.  We are told to have long, complex passwords so cyber criminals cannot hack them, but at the same time we are told to have a unique, separate password for every account. We should never share the same password between different devices or accounts.  I do not know about you, but I have over 100 accounts.  There is simply no way I can possibly remember my passwords if they have to be long and complex, and at the same time different for each account.   What is the solution then?  Fortunately it is rather simple, something called a password manager.

Password managers are a secure vault that encrypt and store all of your passwords for all of your different accounts and devices in a single location.  Password managers are usually a software program installed on your computer, but they can also be stored in the Cloud.  The whole idea is you do not have to remember your passwords, your password manager does that for you.  The only password you need to remember is the one to your password manager.  Anytime you need to access a device, website or network you simply look-up your password in your password manager.  In fact, many of today’s password managers integrate with your browser and automatically log you into websites for you. Not only do you no longer need to remember passwords, you do not even have to type them in.  In fact, now every single one of your passwords can be extremely long, complex and impossible for anyone to hack, as the password manager does all the work for you.  However, this also means you have to be sure your password manager is safe, secure and protected.  This means your password manager should be secured with a very strong password that you can definitely remember.  Forgetting your password manager’s password would effectively lock you out of all your accounts.

There are several good password manager solutions you can choose from, both free and for purchase.  Some advanced features you may want to consider include how easy is the interface to use, does the solution have the ability to work on different devices, and does the password manager sync to the cloud.  Syncing means it does not matter which computer you are using (your desktop at home, your laptop while traveling, etc) all of your password managers on all your devices are always synced. So when you change or add a password while using one device (your laptop) your password managers on your other devices are updated also (your desktop at home).  Some recommendations for password managers include

1Password – https://agilebits.com/onepassword
Keypass   – http://keepass.info
Lastpass  – https://lastpass.co

To learn more about password managers and other steps you can take to protect yourself, check out the free, security awareness newsletter OUCH! OUCH! is published every month and in over 20 languages.