Your Passwords are Probably Trash: The Top 5 Password Managers to Stop Ukrainian Hackers from Stealing Your Vintage Pornography (and Bank Account Details, or Whatever)
Published 3 months ago | Last update 3 months ago
Some things are good. Some things are trash. Your passwords are probably in the second category. Reviewing Avast's password manager, RoboForm, DashLane, and more...
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Sure, that sounds like a bummer. But deep down, you cannot deny that you understand how important it is to frequently change passwords. Let’s forget about the topic of this article for one second, that is, password managers. Now, you sign-up on a myriad of online portals, services, and networks including forums, social networking websites, blogs, e-commerce websites, and pretty much any service provider from Quora to Reddit. And most probably, you choose the same password multiple times.
We have a set of services that we think of as high-priority. Like your Google, Facebook, or business/website account. These services have more sophisticated passwords or unique combinations. Some of us even write those passwords down. Even if you change your passwords regularly and go for unique passwords or combinations – you are at a mind-boggling risk already. How? Let’s see.
Data breach: The Menacing Truth
Well, let’s face it. Data breach, just like climate change, is real. It’s happening as we speak. Millions of accounts are one step away from compromise. Personal information of more than a hundred million people is stolen by hackers within a year. And that’s just the US. Hacked accounts? Even worse, sitting at 432 million. There are just 327.16 million people in the US.
I compare data breaches with climate change because both these things are serious, and we know it deep down, but fail to act individually because, well, priorities. We’re not hacked every other day, so we’re cool about it.
Let’s do one simple task to help you face the truth. Open Firefox Monitor (just a website by Mozilla). You don’t need to install Firefox. On that webpage, enter your email ID and you will know how many data breaches you have been part of. Trust me, it will terrify you.
Enter the password manager...
How does the password manager solve the problem?
Password managers store your passwords in a safe way. Basically, they don’t store your login details as they are. They use a master password. Think of it as a master key to open all the locks. Those locks guard your individual passwords. But if you don’t have the master key, you can’t reach the locked doors.
This master password is converted into a cryptographic key. The stronger this key, the stronger your security against unauthorized (and offline) access. These software use key derivation functions to convert the master password into a key.
Even if you personally create unique passwords using uncommon methods like a1phab3t or using symbols, uppercase, etc. – you are making a bigger mistake. You see, these passwords are hard to remember but easy for the computer to guess.
Everyone's passwords are terrible and they should change their passwords right now.
- Dr. Mike Pound, University of Nottingham
Randall Munroe from XKCD clarifies how a password “Tr0ub4dor$3” has ~28 bits of entropy that a computer can crack in 3 days if it processes at a thousand guesses a second. It’s hard to remember for humans. But a password made up of four random words, “correct horse battery staple” has ~44 bits of entropy taking the same computer 550 years for the correct guess while it’s simple for human memory. See the extended explanation on IFLScience.
So, the best bet is to use a password manager that keeps your passwords safe, no matter how simple or unique they are. Because if you want to keep your passwords unique, you might as well keep hashes as your passwords that are humanly not possible to remember.
The Top 5 Password Managers in Current Year
To be very honest, this is a tough fight. Sure, I can make the statement that RoboForm 8 is way superior to Zoho Vault, while LogMeOnce might be more specialized for a specific purpose. But in the end, it all boils down to core functions, compatibility, platform support, secure wallet support, and so on.
LastPass is, without doubt, one of the most trusted password managers if not the most trusted. Reasons are simple. Among the popular managers, LastPass provides the biggest pool of additional platforms (that is, platforms except for Windows, iOS, Mac, and Android). It covers Chrome OS, Android Wear and Apple Watch, Linux distributions, Windows Phone and Surface RT, and the Firefox OS and Mobile.
Unlimited logins and strong password generation are among the top features of LastPass. It’s also free and quite a robust account password creator in the industry. The secure vault is protected by the master password, supporting multi-factor authentication, including the YubiKey hardware authentication. The premium version offers additional security mainly through secure cloud file storage.
LastPass also supports form capture as you submit forms like all others. Although LastPass supports additional data types for further security enhancement, it has nothing specific when it comes to supporting software licenses. The only option is the secure notes category.
What sells Dashlane is one-click password generation and the digital wallet feature (it can also store credit card information). Dashlane is also fairly easy to use. The premium version adds sharing and syncing of files – unlimited.
One thing a little unique about Dashlane is that although it does support the necessary form capture as you submit, it also captures receipts. Additional data types like licenses, passports, dedicated software licenses, etc. are also supported.
1Password sits among the behemoths. It’s industry-friendly and trusted since a very long time now. It supports almost all the top features except for more advanced tidbits like digital legacy and secure sharing (that you can easily find in Dashlane, LastPass, and RoboForm).
1Password is the only one out of the top ones that provides a local storage option besides cloud storage.
Works with notes supports unlimited logins and is highly cross-platform. The RoboForm password manager is one of the top sellers in the password manager segment right now for very legit reasons.
You can gain emergency access (Anywhere version) while it supports application logins too. Overall, RoboForm is widely trusted for big software systems and networks. However, we do believe that the application has a lot of potential to be an individual’s favorite password manager as well.
5. Avast Passwords
One of the lesser used applications, Avast Passwords has the potential to be much more than what it currently is. It comes free, along with a free antivirus (Avast is one of the very popular antivirus makers today). Along with passwords, it also stores credit card numbers, thus doubling up as a digital wallet. It’s also available on Android, iPhone, and Mac.
People across the globe rely on Avast Password Manager to set strong passwords and remember them. One-click and hassle-free, that’s the power of simplicity that Avast brings. Is Avast’s password manager safe? Yes, although it lacks behind its competitors in terms of higher-end technical features.
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