What is a Password Manager & Why Do You Need One?
Well, if you’re like 99.9% of computer users, you use just a few passwords for all your online accounts. That means your biggest threat to your own online security is you
! If you use the same passwords in multiple places, anyone who has access to one now has access to all
of your accounts. That may not sound like a big deal, but if an identity thief can get into your email, they can use that reset your passwords for bank accounts, social media, online stores, etc.
But who can remember a different password for every website? Nobody! That’s where passwords managers come in. A passwords manager will create crazy-long, complicated, difficult-to-hack passwords for all your accounts, and store them securely. Then you only have to remember one super secure password to get into your password manager which allows you to access all those other secure passwords you can’t remember. In this post and my next, I’ll share helpful info about three password managers that I have used in the past or that I am currently using.
The First Contender: KeePassX (and KeePass)
KeePassX is a free app that provides all kinds of cool features. I have been using KeePassX since 2009 and love it. This utility is available for Mac, Linux and Windows. Check out KeePassX for yourself. There is another app similar to KeePassX called KeePass. In fact, KeePassX started as an open-source Linux variant of the Windows-only KeePass, and their underlying databases are actually interchangeable. I do believe I was searching for KeePass back in 2009, but for some reason I came across KeePassX instead and started using it. Both apps work very well. Check out KeePass too!
A few key features of KeePassX that I really like:
- I can search the entire database or just search in groups.
- I can generate random passwords when creating an account online; from very simple to very complex. No two passwords are ever the same! This is also the same for KeePass.
- When installing the app for the first time, you will have to create a master password that will grant access to the database. This password is very important! Make it difficult to hack, but easy for you to remember. And do not forget it!
- I can create different groups to categorize my passwords.
- I have several groups created within KeePassX: logins, bills, software keys, network information, etc.
- When creating an entry, I can specify a title for the password, the URL of the online account it goes to, and I can put in additional notes.
- Notes are useful in case the password has been changed, but you want to keep a record of previous passwords. Here you can note the last password used for history purpose, or if you have given someone access to the app or a site temporally. That way you have a little reminder to change the password later after you have removed their access.
- You can also import a history of product keys like the screenshot below. You’ll see I have upgraded Parallels three times and the information is right there in the notes.
I’ve been using KeePassX for six years. It’s a great app and won’t cost you a penny. It could really save you from having your identity stolen – which is a huge headache, and can be very costly. In my next post
I’ll talk about two other very popular paid