Remembering each password can be a pain. Add to that, cybersecurity experts recommend that you use a separate, complex and unique password for each account you access. Frankly, managing so many passwords can be overwhelming, and this is where password managers come in. Typically, password managers save your password in an encrypted ‘vault’ so that you can retrieve it across multiple devices and browsers. This vault is usually protected by a ‘master password’ that is used to encrypt all the other passwords to various different services. These password managers themselves will recommend that you make this master password as secure and strong as possible.
While password managers do make it easier for users to create and store multiple secure passwords, they also offer a single point of failure for malicious actors to capitalise on: someone with access to your master password can access all your accounts. So it is important to make the master password as secure as possible and guard it well. That aside, we have put together a list of a few good password managers that you should consider using.
If you primarily use Apple devices to browse the internet, you may not have to look any further than the iCloud Keychain feature developed by the iPhone-maker itself. Once users set up Keychain using their Apple ID, they can keep their passwords and other secure information updated across devices.
While this feature is free if you are an Apple user, do remember that you can only use it if your devices meet some system requirements. For iPhone, iPad and now discontinued iPod Touch, that would be at least iOS 15. On Mac devices, you need to update them to macOS Monterey 12. Apple Watches need to be updated to watchOS 8.
You can turn on the iCloud keychain on iOS by going to Settings>tapping on your Apple ID> iCloud and then making sure iCloud Keychain is on. One advantage here is that passwords you create on macOS are then accessible on the iPhone as well. Apple’s Keychain will also tell you about which passwords can be easily compromised on Macs and iOS devices. You can always delete them or update these easily guessed passwords as well.
Google Password Manager
If you have an Android phone on the other hand, Google Password Manager may be the right choice. Just like its Apple counterpart, Google Password Manager can be used to store and manage passwords across devices using Android phones or the Google Chrome browser.
But unlike every other service on the list, there is a chance that you may have already used Google’s Password Manager without even knowing about it. If you have stored passwords that you enter on the Google Chrome browser, you may have noticed a dialog box that pops up asking you whether you want to store the password
If you clicked yes, you have stored them on the Google Password manager. With the service, you can access your passwords across all browsers by signing in with your Google account. If you chose not to save your password on a site, it will be listed under “declined sites and apps” in the password manager settings and you will have to delete that entry if you want to save passwords on that site again.
Bitwarden is a free and open-source password manager that allows the storage of passwords as well as other sensitive information in an encrypted vault. The service is available in various forms including as a web interface, desktop application, browser extension and a command-line interface. While the personal plan of the service is free, it also offers premium paid plans for both individuals and organizations with extra features such as file sharing.
The free plan should be enough for most individual users and allows you to share an unlimited number of passwords that can be synced across multiple devices for free. Bitwarden has apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Linux and offers browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Opera, Safari and others.
Also, since it is an open-source platform, Bitwarden’s code is available for anyone to inspect, penetration test and fix. The client comes with a password generator that allows you to generate secure new passwords. It also comes with a data breach tool that checks many sources to see if your password has been compromised.
Lastpass allows users to securely store an unlimited number of passwords on its service. But you can only access these on one device type. Lastpass identifies two device types: desktop and mobile. Desktop includes all browsers running on desktops and laptops, and mobile includes all other devices.
If you want to use LastPass and circumvent this limitation, you can choose the LastPass premium plan for individuals which comes at $3 per month. In India, the premium plan costs Rs 2,990 per year on iOS. The premium version also offers 1GB of free file storage, as well as the ability to safely share passwords with others. The paid version also comes with a security dashboard and dark web monitoring, where Lastpass says it sends users a notification if their passwords have been leaked on the dark web. Both the free and paid versions come with multi-factor authentication.
Dashlane is a password manager that offers extra security features, including dark web scanning for data leaks and a secure VPN. One downside to Dashlane is the fact that the free version of the service limits users to storing just 50 passwords. Also, the extra security features are only available with a paid plan.
With the free plan, users can also securely share passwords with up to 5 accounts. The premium individual plan of Dashlane costs $3.99 a month and offers dark web monitoring for up to 5 email IDs. There is also a Family package which offers password management for up to six premium accounts, costing $5.99 a month. Users can also save on the premium packages by paying approximately $39 and $72 annually.
1Password is a password manager that was initially offered as a password manager for Mac computers. But it has now been extended to other devices. One drawback with 1Password is the fact that it does not offer a free-tier subscription. But users can avail of a 14-day free trial to find out if they like it or not.
The premium individual plan comes with unlimited password storage, 1GB of secure document storage, and the ability to share passwords securely with others. 1Password Watchtower is a feature that alerts users about compromised websites and vulnerable passwords. An individual subscription starts at $2.99 billed annually, while a family plan for 5 members comes at $2.50 billed annually.