With all of the password protected websites we visit, from social media to online banking, it’s no wonder we keep weak passwords and handwritten lists. It’s just easier to remember. The key is to find an organized yet secure method of storing all of your password and login information. There are a few ways to do this that won’t compromise your passwords.
The most common types of password management tools are:
Web-based – These can be visited from anywhere. Users login to a website where they can input new passwords and view others. These online companies keep your passwords safe by storing them within their servers. The encryption actually happens on the user’s computer. This way, in the event that the servers are hacked, they won’t have the encryption key. Of course, the key to keeping this secure on your end is to have a strong master password.
Portable – These portable, USB password managers are great if you do not feel safe entrusting your passwords with another party. Not only do some of these store passwords, but they help create more secure passwords.
Desktop – There are plenty of desktop password managers available for download. Some are even free. This is by far one of the more inexpensive ways to store your password information. This method stores the encrypted database on your computer. The worst part about his method of storage is lack of access by the user. Because it is on the desktop, you can only access it from that device. This can be worked around by storing the software on Dropbox and having it sync through there, but that can lead to other security weaknesses.
Token – A security token service is software based and is another step in security. The way it works is that the user asks for access to software. The token service authenticates the user and provides them with a token. There is a weakness to this in that someone else can pose as the user. Of course, a very strong master password can help. These token services can also utilize a USB or biometrics.
Cloud-based – These services are accessed through software installed on the user’s computer but saved to the company’s servers. What’s great about this is being able to access it from any device you can install the software on. The weakness here is that your information is encrypted and stored on the cloud.
There are many options for safe and easy password management these days. A little research and a budget can help you find something in your price range that works for you. For good security and ease of use one of my favorites is Last Pass – it is even free for the basic program without high security encryption.
If you do any sort of work on the internet you’ll soon need to consider some sort of password management system – better to get started early and be organized.