5 password managers to help you strengthen account security

Password managers help you keep track of all the different passwords you have, and at least is more secure than writing them down on a piece of paper.

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Doing nothing at all

The most popular method of managing passwords is not using anything. In case you have moved beyond this method, here are some password managers that will help you remember your password. Plus these managers help you to create stronger passwords.

Cost: Free

Pros: Easiest to implement, free, does not require any special software or hardware, permits easy access to web sites virtually anywhere. Adopters of this system write passwords down to remember them, use one or several passwords on every site or use a system of creating passwords that includes the site’s name.

Cons: Very insecure and easy to defeat. If a password is compromised on one site, attackers will often try the password on other sites with a good success rate. Adopters also tend to use dictionary-based words which are very susceptible to brute-force attacks.

See related story: What I learned from resetting over 300 passwords

1password
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1Password

Flexible and popular password manager.

Cost: Free trial, one-time single license for $50


Pros: Local password file so you are not beholden to your cloud provider; can sync using DropBox, Box, iCloud, etc.

Cons: Cloud sync is an extra step. Not as many OS ports as other packages.

lastpass
Credit: Flickr: CC BY-2.0
LastPass

Cloud-based browser extension solution

Cost: Free on desktop-based browsers, $12 per year for premium features, including mobile apps


Pros: Effortless, cloud-based syncing, works on a variety of browsers and mobile devices, good multi-factor authentication options.

Cons: Suffered a data breach in 2015, but company handled it very well. Data is in the cloud, which some users may be wary of.

dashlane
Dashlane

Polished, cloud-based solution.

Cost: Free for basic package, $39.99/year for premium


Pros: Polished, cloud-based solution that is very easy to use and supports two-factor authentication. Consistently gets good reviews for its user-friendly design.

Cons: Can’t sync across devices without the Premium package; one of the more expensive packages available.

keepass on linux
Credit: License is CC-BY-2.0
KeePass

Popular, open-source package.

Cost: Free


Pros: Ported to many devices and operations systems, including Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Windows Phone and much more. The password file is local, so the user has more control than in cloud-based solutions.

Cons: If cross-device syncing is desired, users must sync manually or use DropBox, Box, iCloud, etc.

passwordsafe
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PasswordSafe

Open-source password manager with die-hard fans.

Cost: Free

Pros: Designed by Brice Schneier and now maintained by a group of volunteers, Password Safe is an enduring password manager that has a loyal following. It has been ported to a variety of platforms, including Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, Blackberry, Linux and much more. The password is locally stored and users can sync between devices by using cloud storage or other methods of sharing files.

Cons: Feature set is minimal, but that is why some people like it so much.