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Passwords are a real pain to deal with. The rules for their complexity and formatting is becoming more arcane every day. You can’t reuse the same password over multiple sites, because a breach of one is a breach of all. There’s always the option of using something like Google as an authentication proxy, but some people are convinced that this is a very bad idea.
If that describes you, then a good password manager tool may be just what you need to both stay safe on the web and keep your sanity intact.
Not all password managers are created equal however, so I’ve put together a list of the five password management tools I think represent the best products in their class. With one of these trusty guardians your personal information (and bank account contents!) are as safe as possible. Just don’t write your master password down on anything, OK?
LastPass is one of the most highly-rated password managers out there and unlike much of the competition it’s free service level is more than the average web surfer needs.
It’s been around for a while now and the latest version is the fourth major revision of the software. This is a multi-device solution that automatically syncs on everything you install it to, making it incredibly simple and convenient to use. This was previously a paid feature, but thankfully it was shifted to the free tier. If you’re a tech-enthusiast who likes to own all the latest top gadgets, this feature is an absolute must.
You also get a password generator and two-factor authentication as part of the free service, so it really is perfect for most users to provide a much safer surfing experience. If you stump up the cash for the paid tier you also get a GB of encrypted file storage, distinct family folders and desktop fingerprint ID. All for a single dollar a month!
Despite the awkward name, LogMeOnce is a great choice when it comes to paid password managers. While a product such as LastPass is perfect for a simple, streamlined experience some users need more sophisticated and extensive options. LogMeOnce fits that description and then some.
The free tier of this service does not present a compelling argument against going with something like LastPass, but once you buy into the “ultimate” tier you’ll get some of the most innovative security features I’ve seen.
For example you can use a selfie or USB drive for custom two-factor authentication. There’s much more to it than that, but I simply don’t have the space to list all the advanced features here, so go check out the comparison table on their product page.
If you’re a tech user who likes to run off the beaten path when it comes to your choice of platforms, it can be hard to find AAA products that cater to your needs. If you like using the more obscure systems out there, Keeper may very well be the password manager for you.
Windows and Mac are obviously covered, but so is Linux. On the mobile side of things you get the expected iOS and Android support, but Blackberry and Windows Phone are also supported. That reflects the fact that Keeper is also designed for business customers, many of whom are using some of these less-popular platforms.
4. True Key by Intel
Some people care more about the pure, brute level of security than they do about fancy bells and whistles or sophisticated integration. That’s where True Key by Intel Security comes into play.
It doesn’t have many of the “luxury” features that you’d expect from the competition, but multi-factor authentication is the minimum standard and it makes use of AES-256 encryption, which is about as strong as civilian encryption gets.
It’s also very simple with little confusion for even novice users. You pick the factors that unlock your passwords and only you can ever do it. The software doesn’t share your info with even Intel.
The range of factors you can use to log in is impressive. There’s facial and fingerprint recognition. You can use a second device such as your phone, a traditional master password and Windows Hello if you have the required depth-sensing camera. It’s important to remember that you always combine two or more of these factors, which exponentially increases the level of security.
Roboform may be a less familiar name in this space, but it has some very worthy features that makes it perfect for a certain group of users. As the name suggests, the software is more than just a password manager, but also an intelligent system to auto-fill web forms for you.
Roboform is a very smart program that automatically remembers your passwords as you use them during the normal course of your surfing. So now your logins are all one-click affairs.
It also generates strong passwords for you then and there and then stores them. So you never have to worry about either coming up with or remembering passwords. The type of person who most wants to use Roboform can have hundreds of passwords, but the software has been built with an intelligent search and organisation system.
I also really like the ability to encrypt text notes, such as WiFi passwords or any other sensitive information you don’t want to store in plain text.
The differentiating feature however, has to be the ability to instantly fill out lengthy webforms, the bane of our existence.
The Safety Dance
The internet can be a scary and dangerous place, but with a good security mindset and the right tools you can minimize the chances that your information will be stolen for nefarious reasons.
It’s not just about keeping your passwords safe either, there are many other things you can do to be safer on the web. A good place to start is this guide to safer online shopping and remember that if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is!