Wrangling Passwords: Using a Password Manager

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There are a lot of password manager programs on the Internet that will file and organize passwords. Of course, some of us get around this by using the same password for everything. If that’s your password strategy, there’s an easier, efficient and safer way. Let’s look at a few Password Managers for review.

Creating passwords

There’s always the dilemma of creating a new password for each sign in; do you make it easy to type, easy to type on the iPhone, easy to remember, etc.? My current strategy involves taking the first few letters of pet’s names and creating a password that way. At least I can remember it. But what happens when you need to remember more than 3 or 4 passwords? That’s where a password manager comes in handy. Whether you sign in from your laptop, iPhone or iPad, it syncs and remembers for you because it’s cloud based.

Password Manager: 1Password

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Different 1Password Packages for your needs.

The one I use is called 1Password from agilebits software. They have several pricing options. I use the individual user plan for $50 that allows you to install it on 1 computer and download the iOS app onto your iPhone and iPad (also have Windows and Android versions). There is also the 1Password Families plan that now costs $5/month for 5 people. So far I’ve been able to go from version 4 up to their current latest version 6 without having to pay any more, unlike some other password managers who only offer a monthly fee.

Storage & Safeguarding your 1Password File

The main password file can be stored in a Dropbox account, iCloud account or (if you are just using it on one mac) on your mac. As the name implies, all you have to remember is one password. With this one password you unlock your vault, aka your main password file, then you have access to all your passwords. Of course if you forget your vault password there is NO way to recover it. If you think about it that is sort of reassuring, it means that even agilebits can’t break into your vault.

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Entrance to the 1Password vault

The passwords are arranged by website so that if you double-click on a website it will auto-open your default browser and log you in. Or you can copy and paste the password, or you can view and edit the password. You can also open the vault and then search for a website, like Google. Then double click on Google and you’ll be logged in.

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View from inside the 1Password vault

There are other categories such as notes, credit cards, and software licenses in separate areas. This makes quick access to them easy. You can also download browser extensions for your favorite browser to gain quick access to passwords and to save passwords right from the browser. There are lots of other features in 1Password, I’m really only just scratching the surface of what you can do with it, but it suits my needs.

Password Manager: Dashlane & LassPass

Dashlane, free for 1 computer and $39.99 year for all your devices, and LassPass, which is free for 1 computer and $12/year for all devices. LassPass has a sharing function (for sharing with a partner, buddy or assistant). I know some folks who swear by each one, so it really comes down to personal preference. If you don’t have a password manager, I suggest downloading the free trial for all 3 and trying them out. It will keep your logins and passwords more secure and guard against cyber criminals! Let me know which one you like.

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