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August 6, 2019

Privacy Tip of the Week: Use a Password Manager

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Passwords are the gatekeepers of our lives. They protect our devices, social media, and other personal information from prying eyes. However, with so many different accounts requiring passwords, it can be a hassle to remember them all (if not an impossibility). Because of that, many people choose to use the same password for everything, which greatly reduces their safety online. So what’s a person to do? Suffer the annoyance of remembering a dozen or more complicated passwords? Or do you sacrifice your online safety by using only one or two easy to remember ones? Thankfully, there’s a third option and that’s to use a password manager. Password managers store and encrypt your information so your brain doesn’t have to. There are dozens of different ones on the market, and we’ve taken a look at a few of them:

KeePass

KeePass has been around since 2004 and has been offering password privacy for just as long. The software is available for use on Windows, iOS, and Linux. KeePass is an offline password manager which means it stores passwords on user devices in an encrypted file. This solution offers form autofill, two-factor authentication, and a password generator. KeePass is also free to use.

  • Pros: KeePass is one of the safest and most trusted managers available. Its code has been formally audited by the EU Free and Open Source Software Auditing project and other reputable groups, and has been vouched for by top security experts.
  • Neutrals: Because KeePass operates entirely offline, there is no cloud connectivity. While this increases its security which is definitely a pro for some users, it also means you can’t switch between devices with ease. Every device needs to have its own KeePass file for password access, which some users may see as a con.
  • Cons: KeePass has a very bare-bones design that focuses more on function than looks. It may turn some users off, if they’re looking for an attractive management experience.

Use a Password Manager Like LastPass

LastPass is one of the most popular names in password managers. Its services are offered online, in the form of a browser extension and can be used with platforms such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Apple Safari, and Opera. It enables users to store their passwords as they create them and can also import data from other browsers on your devices, which makes switching between browsers or password managers easy.

  • Pros: LastPass offers a free version of their service, and the paid version starts at only $2 a month. It also offers two-factor authentication which makes it more secure than many competitors’ platforms.
  • Cons: In 2015, LastPass experienced a data breach. It has since been resolved and has not occurred again, but some concerned users may choose to use a password manager that doesn’t have any breaches in their history.

BitWarden

BitWarden is a free and open source password manager that many users are beginning to adopt. The app is available on multiple devices, features two-factor authentication, allows you to import data from other password managers and more. It also offers cloud-syncing between platforms.

  • Pros: Because BitWarden is open source, its protection and data storage methods are highly transparent. The platform uses end-to-end encryption. The user interface is also clean and professional looking.
  • Cons: BitWarden doesn’t offer a truly “offline” version of their app, which some people who use a password manager may be upset by. It opens the app up to potential breaches.

Dashlane

Dashlane is a well designed password manager with strong encryption. In addition to offering a full suite of password-related tools to users, such as filling forms and offering automatic logins, the app also functions as a digital wallet to store credit and debit card information. Their password vault stores unlimited passwords, however the free version of the app only allows you to use it on a single device.

  • Pros: Dashlane allows users to enjoy speed and convenience while also knowing their passwords are kept safe with the app.
  • Cons: Many of the best features are only accessible with a premium subscription to the app, which start at just over $3 a month.

Google Smart Lock

Chrome users are familiar with Google Smart Lock. Every time you sign in to a new site, Google asks if you’d like it to remember your username and password. However, it’s widely known that Google collects user data so is using the browser to store your information safe? The answer is both yes and no. While Google prides itself on keeping user information safe from data breaches, any person who shares your device passwords can see your password for everything else by going in to Settings > Manage Passwords.

  • Pros: Chrome is the most used web browser in the world. Its password manager is the most convenient and they do strive to keep information encrypted.
  • Cons: While strangers might not have access to your passwords, friends and family you share devices (or device information) with, could theoretically view all of your passwords.

Pen and Paper

You may have been told never to write your passwords down. However, if you don’t trust digital password managers, good old pen and paper is your next best option because it absolutely, positively cannot be hacked. Just be sure to put the paper in a safe or similarly protected object so not just anyone can pick it up to read.


Keep your passwords safe with a password manager and keep your browsing safe with a virtual private network service like HotBot VPN.

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