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7 October 2021
Hyperoptic Team

What are password managers, and are they safe?

Whether you’re browsing social media or managing a website for work, you’re required to input login credentials to access your profile. In this article, we’ve looked at what a password manager is and how the software works, why you might want to consider using a password manager to store and control your data, any potential drawbacks, and the best password managers on the market.

What is a password manager?

A password manager is a useful tool or program that allows a user to store all online passwords and digital credentials in one place. Often, an online password manager will also offer the option of generating unique passwords for each website you visit, to save you from having to come up with new details for each new registration.

How does a password manager work?

Password managers operate as clever pieces of software that organise login credentials for each of your online profiles. All details are stored within a large database that is accessed via a single master password. There are two main types of digital password manager:

Local password manager

As the name suggests, a local password manager stores data on your individual device, whether it be a computer or smartphone. However, while local storage removes the risk of a cyber hacker breaching your password list, it’s reasonably complicated to access credentials on another device. Additionally, if you lose or break your computer or smartphone, you’ve also lost your entire database of login details.

Web-based password manager

Unlike local password managers, which keep data on your device, web-based tools store your details on a cloud. This allows you to access your credentials from anywhere – so long as you know your master password. However, because your information is stored online, you’ll need to ensure you’re connected to the internet when using it.

Why use a password manager?

Many people use password managers across their personal and professional lives. But if you’re still unsure, and wondering ‘should I use a password manager?’, read on to discover the benefits.

How secure are password managers?

Password managers simplify cyber security, keeping all of your digital login credentials in one place. Even better, your password vault will likely be an encrypted database, making it even harder for hackers to access your information. This makes password managers among the safest places to store your details.

This encrypted database saves you from having to either remember or note down each password individually and gives you the peace of mind that your logins are safe. Some of the best password managers even allow you to store additional details, like answers to security questions and credit card information. For even greater security, consider implementing two-factor authentication.

You can use stronger passwords online

Because your online password manager saves you from having to remember your credentials, you can choose stronger logins. In fact, many password tools will even offer a ‘strong’ password option, as an alternative to choosing your own password, which will generate a secure combination of random numbers, letters, and special characters for you.

Take control of access to passwords

One of the benefits of using an online password manager is that it allows you to monitor and control access to each linked website. This is especially useful if you’re running a company, and have to distribute credentials to shared accounts; rather than forwarding a password individually to each employee, you can administer and track all logins through the tool.

Autofill offers practical convenience

Once you’ve saved your login details for a website to your online password manager, you’re saved from having to enter your credentials for that account again. Instead, your password tool will usually autofill the username and password fields, offering practical convenience, saving you time, and making it easier than ever to access your accounts at the click of a button.

Are there any drawbacks to using a password manager?

There’s very little downside to using a password manager, with convenience and practicality among the main benefits of the software. But is there anything you should be aware of when using a management tool?

Are password managers safe?

Keeping all of your passwords together is helpful when it comes to easy and efficient access to your login data, particularly across numerous websites. But having a database of sensitive information means a hacker only needs your master password to take control of your entire online persona.

To get around this, consider two-factor/biometric (fingerprint or face scan) authentication. This is an important additional step, as it stops anyone untoward from accessing your information with just your master password.

Forgetting your master password

Of course, once you’ve got into the habit of relying on a password manager, you might get complacent and find it easier to forget your master password! If this happens, you can lose access to all website login details. So, when creating your master password, it’s important to commit it to memory immediately.

The best password managers to use

Now you know how to use a password manager, it’s time to choose a database software. Analysing the best password managers, we’ve picked out our favourite tools.

LastPass: Offering intuitive control and reliable security, this browser-based extension tool doesn’t have a password limit, which makes it a practical pick. And with the premium version, you’ll also be able to sync your database across all types of devices, meaning you can use the same profile across computer and mobile.

Bitwarden: Another excellent option, Bitwarden is maybe the best free password manager if your priority is syncing your database across all devices. This allows you to access logins and online accounts, no matter whether you’re using a computer or smartphone.

1Password: As far as premium solutions go, 1Password could be considered the best password manager, with effortless organisation at its heart. This tool even offers a ‘travel mode’ which temporarily deletes sensitive password vaults while on the move, removing any risk of important personal or business leaks when your device is out of sight.

Using a password manager can greatly improve your digital experience, whether for personal or business use. For even more helpful guidance, check out the latest over on our blog.

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