Are you among the millions who still use their birthday as a password? Worse still, is your password “Password” or “123456?” If so, you seem to be in great company. According to a survey carried out by the National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) UK, some of the most popular passwords in use today are also some of the worst.
At the time of the survey, 123456 was the most commonly used password with at least 23.2 million accounts using it. Password came in fourth with over 3 million users, following behind 123456789 and qwerty.
While this is certainly a ticking time bomb, think about it for a moment. Almost every web page you visit may require a unique password to protect your user account. Coming up with the password may not be the issue but cramming tens or hundreds of them is no easy feat. While you may feel obliged to use a single tough password for all accounts or lots of simple passwords a la 123456, there is a third option.
Password managers are a convenient way to work around the failings of the human memory and weak passwords. They help you create strong, random passwords for each of your accounts and spare you the hassle of memorizing them.[toc]
The Best Password Managers
Now that we know the pros and cons of using a password manager, let us find out the highest ranking ones in the market at present.
There are no hard and fast rules on how to choose a good password manager. Since they differ significantly in features, capabilities and price, only the user can select the one most suited to their needs. With the above range of top market performers, you can assess your needs against the features and select the best fit.
Password managers start by recording the username and password that you enter when logging in to a website. On subsequent logins, they will in most cases autofill these details. When you sign up for a new service, the program can generate a password. It may also notify you when you use a weak password or reuse one across websites.
According to current best practices for password selection, a good password should consist of a random combination of words. These should create an extra-long pass phrase with easy to remember words. For added complexity, they recommend the use of hyphens or underscore to separate the words.
A master password refers to the single password that you will need to secure your password manager. It should be hard to crack yet easy to remember.
Almost every password manager will require a software download and installation as well as a browser extension. After this, you will need your email address and a master password to set it up.
Yes, you can, but they have some limitations. For instance, you cannot access login information and passwords outside the specific browser you use. And it might not be possible to share the details with others.