Creating passwords is inevitable since we need to create an account with every app and website we access online. All the websites require you to have an account to use their services.
Since you create different accounts on different websites, it can take time to remember all of them and it’s impossible for you to access a website without the login credentials. To avoid such situations, you can use the help of password managers.
Password managers can be apps, desktop programs, or online vaults. A password manager is important as it helps keep your passwords safe, in an encrypted vault. And it’s not just passwords that are kept safe in password managers; there are some situations where you can store your banking details, documents, and personal IDs.
Data stored in these vaults is typically sensitive information that you would not share with anyone. Password managers help to keep the passwords safe in their encrypted vaults where only you can gain access.
The only thing you have to remember is the password for your password manager. It is called the master password. If you unlock your password manager with the master password, you can gain access to all the other saved passwords.
Each password has military-grade encryption, which is visible only to the user and the people with whom they share different information. The best thing about password managers is that you do not have to memorize all your passwords, like in the old days.
The other function of a password manager is to generate secure passwords for its users. Sometimes you create so many accounts on different websites that you need help to come up with a new password. When this happens, you can your password manager’s help and generate a new and strong password.
How Do Password Managers Work?
Password managers use a military-grade level coding system to store data so only the authorized users can open it. There are various types of password managers that you can use differently.
The functioning of a password manager depends on the type you are using. They promise both security and convenience. There is only one requirement to using them – you should remember the one master password to unlock the vault.
Password managers work in such a way that they help generate unique passwords for different accounts as well. Though its primary function is to manage and keep your passwords safe, it is also the best way to generate secure passwords for your new accounts quickly and securely.
During the early Internet days, it was much easier to remember our passwords because of the limited number of online accounts. However, as time has passed and the use of websites and the Internet has increased, so has our need to remember even more passwords. Password managers are now necessary because of the number of the sheer number of accounts we use daily.
It is easy to understand how a password manager works. All you have to do is install the software and enable it on your browser, and every time you create an account or share personal information, the manager extension will ask you for permission to save them. If you want to avoid forgetting your password, just save it in your password manager.
Create a master password for the password manager to have access to all the saved passwords. When you sign in to a site, you can use the master password. There is no need for you to try and remember all the other saved passwords.
Ensure that you create a long and strong master password so that it remains secure. Many of the password managers will allow you to activate two-factor authentication for even more security.
The Zero Knowledge Security Model
While companies develop password managers to help secure your passwords and information, some people might be suspicious about the companies’ access to said passwords and information. To ensure your information is safe, they all use a security model called Zero Knowledge.
This model ensures the company that developed your password manager does not have access to your passwords. They cannot unlock your password manager and pry on your passwords.
There are also significantly fewer chances of getting hacked by cybercriminals as the hacker would have to go through the encrypted user data, the extension’s password, and the security key. These are the three layers of defense against hackers used in a password manager.
So even if the company gets hacked, your data will not be compromised. Using a password manager is the best way to ensure your data is protected at all costs.
Advanced Encryption Standard
Most companies use AES encryption to develop their password manager software. The same encryption is used in other things like firewalls and VPNs. The commonly-used version is the 256-Bit AES, which is a military-grade level coding system that encrypts and decrypts data. It is accessible only to parties that have authorization to the password manager.
256-Bit is the encryption key, a random string of 1s and 0s. There are more than two combinations of this key in most password managers. It gets harder for hackers to intrude into our password managers when there are more 256-Bit key combinations.
Some companies also use a less-secure AES 128-Bit, but you can usually find these password managers for free. They do not come with frequent updates, unlike the AES 256-bit password managers.
What Are The Different Types Of Password Managers?
Password managers help protect your online accounts from getting hacked by generating strong and unique passwords. After you create your passwords, you can save them in the password manager for future use.
Once you unlock the password manager using the master password, you don’t need to use other passwords for your other accounts. Different password managers have different features, but their primary job is protecting your passwords.
If you are looking to use a password manager, you will need to know the different types to understand which one to choose. There are many factors that set them apart from one another.
Let us go through some of the most commonly-used password managers to help you pick the right one.
Web Or Cloud Based Password Managers
A cloud password manager is the option if you are looking for a password manager to keep your personal passwords secure. You do not have to save them on your private server or computer. These password managers store your personal information and protect them on their servers.
The best thing about cloud password managers is you can access them anywhere as long as there is an internet connection. The convenience cloud password managers offer is second to none.
There are many advantages that come from cloud password managers. Let us take a look at some of them.
- You do not have to pay large sums of money to use their services since Cloud password managers operate on a monthly subscription basis. This ensures that you get your money’s worth.
- Cloud password managers are hosted and managed by the company. You do not have to do anything except create a master password. You can deploy and access your passwords anytime.
- You don’t have to worry about your data’s security, as it will be taken care of by the service provider.
- The cloud password manager is the best option if you have a business model that includes people working from different locations. It helps promote safe coordination among teams working from different areas.
- A cloud password manager ensures that you don’t lose your passwords even if there are situations where the server or machine breaks down.
Offline Password Managers
Offline password managers are the ones that are locally installed, allowing you to save data on your device. The passwords will be stored in an encrypted file, which is not a part of the password manager.
Offline password managers also allow you to save each password in different files, ensuring more security. However, even if you store them all in one file, it is highly secure.
The main vault will need to be unlocked using a strong and unique master password. This ensures that there will be fewer risks involved when it comes to your data security.
The encryption on the offline password manager will make it difficult for hackers or government agencies to access your data. This is the reason you should create a strong and unique master password for your offline password manager. The best thing about using an offline password manager is people can gain access to your data only if they come and take the device from you.
The only problem you will experience with offline password managers is the accessibility when you are not near your device. Since your data is saved on your device, you cannot access it from other devices. Since it does not have a backup, you will lose your data if you lose your device.
- The offline password manager is the best option if you do not want third parties to access your data. They can only get access if they take your device.
- Many of the offline password managers are free for personal use, while business use may incur a one-time or monthly fee.
Browser Password Managers
The most common password manager is the Browser password manager. You can find them being used on almost all computers and smartphones. This is because the browsers on the devices come with built-in password managers.
You can access them from anywhere in the world, as you can sync them across devices that support popular browsers. They store your password on a cloud, usually the provider’s server if you sync the data across the devices, otherwise it is stored locally.
It is impossible for the providers to access your password because they encrypt the data on your device before sending it to the server. You may be able to use a two-factor authentication process to keep your passwords more secure.
Most browser password managers are free, but there are some you must pay to use the premium features. However, there is no need to panic as the prices are minimal.
Your passwords will be stored online, so there is no doubt about the accessibility. It will be available to you every day, from any place, as you have the master password. You can also access the vault through a web application from the provider’s website.
- You can access your data from anywhere in the world because the browser password manager allows you to sync your vault across all devices.
- You must pay to use its premium features.
- The person trying to gain access must go through an internet authentication process.
Token Password Managers
Token password managers use a local piece of hardware, such as a flash USB device that contains a key to unlock your particular account. It also doesn’t come with a password vault, as the password manager generates a new one every time a user logs in.
If you create a strong master password along with the token key, there will be more security for your data. This ensures the use of a two-factor authentication process, which is the safest way to store your data from all types of hackers.
There is no need to sync your devices due to the absence of a database, giving you more safety. A hacker can only access your data if they know the master password to your token password manager.
You can generate a token on devices like the USB card every time you access a specific account. There is no password vault in a token password manager, as it is stored nowhere.
- Your credentials are stored in a separate device.
- There are lesser risks involved when it comes to data security.
- You should have an external device to generate the token key.
Single Sign-On Password Managers
Single Sign-on password managers are one of the most reliable and user-friendly password managers. You do not need to create a password when you use this service. All you need is to authenticate to access data on various apps and sites.
You need to authenticate to use the Single Sign-on password manager, helping you to retrieve various apps.
SSO helps improve user productivity and remote work systems. The best thing about using the Single Sign-On password manager is you do not have to create passwords for your online accounts, which can be confusing sometimes.
- The service provider can have access to all your accounts, depending on the terms and conditions.
- The Single Sign-On password manager can be a little costlier than other password managers because of the convenience it offers.
- It is exposed to hacks as you can access many accounts from a single point.
How Secure Are Password Managers?
Password managers are the best way to ensure you do not experience any data-theft situations while going online. Password managers have been developed with the objective of protecting your passwords.
There are many ways to use password managers to keep your password safe. The most important thing to remember is your master password so that you can access your other passwords in the future. There are also password managers that do not require a master password.
Most importantly, they help protect you from losing your passwords to hackers or other third parties. There are different methods employed by different companies when they develop password managers.
The most common type is the AES 256-Bit, a military-grade coding system that secures encryption. You can do many things with the help of password managers. You can even scan the dark web to check if there are any logins using your credentials.
Some password managers require you to update your passwords timely to check their strength. The best way to be safe is to have a strong and unique master password and pair it with 2-factor authentication.
There are also various disadvantages that come with the use of password managers. You run the risk of having all your passwords stolen as they are all stored in one vault.
It is essential to keep your data backed up in case the server breaks down. However, poor backup devices or could service will also not help your cause.
If possible, you should use a bio-metric system, as it is a great way to add another level of protection. Authenticating your password manager using your fingerprint or facial recognition is the best way to ensure hackers do not get the chance to steal your data.
However, password managers are safer and more effective than other methods to save your credentials. Compared to the old write all of your passwords on sticky notes and attach them to your monitor, password managers are infinitely more secure.
Why Should You Use A Password Manager?
The primary goal of using a password manager is to save your passwords and other personal information. It also helps to generate strong, unique passwords, which will be available only to you. It makes creating and retrieving passwords much faster as well.
There are various reasons you should use a password manager. Let us check out some of them below.
Password managers help generate unique and strong passwords if you don’t want to create one manually. A password manager can quickly generate unique passwords when you want to sign-up with new sites and apps.
Most password managers generate passwords using alphabets with upper and lower cases, a number, and a symbol. The password will be unique, and only you will have the authority to use it.
Helps Save Time
In the past, users had to manually fill in all the passwords whenever they wanted to log in to their accounts on different websites. However, the introduction of password managers has changed the way people fill in their passwords when they login to websites and apps.
They auto-fill passwords and other login details to give you faster access to online accounts. This saves users a lot of time, given that people spend a lot of time switching from one app to another.
Helps Identify Phishing Activity
The worst fear of people who go online is being a victim of phishing schemes. In such cases, people can lose their money if the criminals get a hold of their bank credentials, passwords, etc.
A password manager will help identify spam emails and messages, as they contain links designed to harvest login details. There are some websites that also dupe people from filling in their login details. When a password manager identifies such malicious sites, it will not auto-complete the username and password fields for the safety of your data.
Protects Your Identity
Password managers can help protect your identity by using a unique password for every site. This helps you to scatter your data evenly across different websites and apps. The problem with using only one password for every platform is if a hacker gets hold of it, they can access all your other accounts.
This makes you vulnerable to identity theft, one of the worst things that can happen to a person. They can use your identity to perform criminal activities online. Password managers help add a layer of security in any case of data theft.
There’s No Need To Memorize Passwords
The most convenient feature of password managers is you do not have to memorize your passwords anymore. The only password you need to remember is the master password that unlocks the password vault.
It is also possible to access your passwords from anywhere in the world if you are using web and cloud password managers. All you need is an internet connection to access the data.
You Can Change Your Passwords Without Effort
Using the same password for a long time can make it easy for hackers to access your online accounts. However, developing a unique and strong password can sometimes take time and effort.
This is when you can use the auto password-generation feature to help create a new password. You will be the only one who will know the password without interference from third parties.