Using a password manager is an easy way to protect yourself online — and you’ll only need to remember one password for all your online accounts.
Have you ever thought about writing down all the login details for your online accounts, and then putting them somewhere safe — like on a piece of paper you hide somewhere in the house? Or on a document you store on your computer? If you have, you’re not alone. We have a lot of passwords to remember, and keeping a note of them somewhere seems like a good idea. But, if you’re going to do this, you need to put them somewhere safer than in a drawer at home, or in a file on your laptop. That’s where password managers come in handy.
Using a password manager is like putting your passwords in a safe that only you have the key to. They:
- let you store and protect all your passwords. The password manager encrypts your passwords so no-one else can access them
- allow you to create random, unique strings of characters that you can use as passwords for your online accounts
- let you store digital records, like your security question answers or two-factor authentication backup codes.
When you set up a password manager, you create a ‘master password’ that you use when you log in. Once you have all your online account details stored in the password manager, the master password is the only one you have to remember. The password manager will do the rest for you. You don’t have to try to remember a load of different passwords, or risk using the same one over and over.
When you choose a master password, make sure you:
- choose something unique
- make it long and strong — try using a passphrase rather than a password
- don’t use personal information that would be easy for someone else to guess.
Tip: Most browsers — like Internet Explorer or Chrome — have a built in password manager. You’ll see it when you log in to a site and a message pops up asking if you want the browser to save your password for you. While this can seem like a good option, it’s not as secure as using a dedicated password manager. Browsers will usually store your passwords on your computer. This means that if you leave your computer unattended or unlocked, other people could get easy access to your password details.