Password Managers to Improve Your PC Security: A Guide
Cybercriminals are an extraordinarily inventive and innovative group of individuals who are ceaseless in their attempts to compromise your digital accounts and steal your personal information, financial data, proprietary and corporate data, etc. Although we have progressed past the point where people are afraid to write their passwords down in hard copy, the strain and pressure of coming up with countless unique passwords with alphanumeric characters and symbols that you must memorize can create a stressful and risky situation. Rather than having to construct an intricate memory palace or complicated mnemonic to log into your Uber Eats account, why not consider using a password manager and take the stress and worry off your shoulders for good? Learn more about which password manager is best for you, and never worry about getting locked out of your account again.
General Advice for Choosing an Appropriate Password Manager
Once you download your free or professional password manager, you should first import all existing login credentials to the manager itself. Then you can use the software to determine if any of your passwords have been reused (which is a massive security risk) and if any existing passwords are not sufficiently complex. Depending on the type of password manager, you can even create multi-factor authentication setups for services that require them.
You should also look for crucial features like receiving notifications if any of your usernames or passwords have been compromised in a security breach, allowing you to react before anything untoward occurs. Another essential thing to consider is purchasing a password manager capable of automatically saving and updating passwords as they are inputted. The last and most important thing is to use a password manager that’s compatible with the PC and operating system that you employ to avoid wasting time and money.
This password manager is one of the best for those just starting to organize their passwords and prefer a more user-friendly experience. There are three plans offered by LastPass: Free, Premium ($3 per month), and Family ($4 per month):
- Free plans include support for multi-factor authentication, auto-filling capabilities, one-to-one password sharing capabilities, a password generator, secure notes, and a password strength report. It is worth noting that changes to LastPass’s device-synching rule now mean Free account holders must choose between synching passwords with mobile devices OR PCs, not both.
- In addition to everything offered by Free accounts, Premium accounts also offer secure one-to-many sharing for accessing accounts, a convenient security dashboard, priority tech support in the event of your data being compromised, emergency access to your passwords, 1GB of encrypted file storage and Dark Web Monitoring of your information.
- Family accounts include all Free and Premium account features and a Family manager dashboard to coordinate security and user accounts, the ability to group and share items in folders, six individual, encrypted vaults for encrypted storage and personal notifications and a security dashboard for each user.
Although this password manager lacks the ability of some other options to import your previous passwords easily, it more than makes up for it by providing an excellent password management system with multi-factor authentication and compatibility with Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS.
Individual accounts cost $1.50 per month when billed annually and offer:
- Apps for Mac, iOS, Windows, Android, Linux, and Chrome OS
- Unlimited passwords, items, and 1 GB of document storage
- Secure digital wallet
- 1Password Watchtower notifications for breaches and compromised accounts
- Two-factor authentication for an extra layer of protection
- Share your sensitive information securely as desired
- 365-day item history to restore deleted passwords
- Travel Mode to safely cross international borders
- Accessible 24/7 email support for technical issues
Family accounts cost $2.50 per month when billed annually and include all individual account features as well as:
- Invite and share with up to five family members in any household
- The ability to add additional users for $1 extra per month
- Recovery of accounts for family members who get locked out
- A dashboard to review and manage the activity of all users
In addition to offering apps for many popular web browsers and operating systems, Bitwarden offers one of the cheapest Premium plans available and a surprisingly robust Free plan.
The Free plan includes the ability to set an unlimited number of passwords across an unlimited number of devices as well as:
- Open-source software
- Zero-knowledge encryption to protect your data
- Apps for Browser, Mobile, and Desktop
- Unlimited vault items
- Storage for credit cards, identities, notes, and more
- Free sharing between two users
- Secure Bitwarden Send for sharing info
- Free Username and password generator
- Standard two-step login
- Free cloud hosting
- Encrypted export of password data
- The ability to self-host
Premium accounts offer access to more advanced forms of multi-factor authentication, emergency access to your account, the ability to review security reports, and the Bitwarden Authenticator to verify your identity for websites that require multi-factor authentication.
Family accounts come with access to six premium Bitwarden accounts and the ability to organize storage across accounts, unlimited collections and sharing of information. Each user can also take advantage of two-step login services, including YubiKey, FIDO2, Duo, Email, and Authentication apps, 1 GB of personal storage and 1GB of storage for organization items, and the ability to send encrypted file attachments safely.