Have you ever stopped to reflect on how many accounts you have? Everything from social network and email accounts to your bank and utilities require a username and password. The average millennial has around 40 online accounts—and plenty of us have far more.
The easy option is to reuse the same password on every site. That's so insecure, though, a Javelin Research study found it'd make you 37% more susceptible to identity fraud.
Even with unique passwords, all it takes is for one account—especially an email or ecommerce account—to be hacked for the rest of your accounts to become vulnerable, as technology journalist Mat Honan found when his entire digital life was hacked.
Hackers first attacked his Amazon account, then his Apple iCloud email account, and from there took over his Twitter accounts, deleted his Gmail account, and wiped everything off his MacBook and iPhone. He lost all of his digital info—and nearly lost every photo he'd taken of his daughter.
That's why you should have a password manager. Secure passwords aren't a panacea—they won't guarantee you'll never face Honan's experience—but they'll at least give you a far better shot at staying safe online. Here are the best password manager apps for you and your team—and tips on how to get the most out of them.
|1Password||Seamless offline and online password management||$49.99||Mac, iOS, Android, Windows|
|LastPass||Easy cross-platform access through any browser||Free for single device; $12/year premium||Web, Mac, iOS, Android, Windows|
|Dashlane||Monitoring and changing your passwords with one click||Free for single device; $39.99/year for premium mobile features||Web, Mac, iOS, Android, Windows|
|oneSafe||Building your own encrypted vault||$19.99 for desktop; $4.99 for mobile||Mac, iOS, Android, Windows|
|iCloud Keychain||Multi-device Apple users||Free||iOS, Mac|
|Splikity||A simple password tool||$4.99/month; $49.99/year||iOS, Android, Chrome, Firefox, Safari|
|Meldium||Maximizing password security among your team||from $24/month for 20 users||Firefox, Safari, Chrome|
|Zoho Vault||Remote teams with shared accounts||from $1/month per user||Chrome, Firefox|
|SimpleSafe||Self-hosted team passwords for a one-time fee||$90||Self-Hosted Web App|
|Vaultier||IT teams and large scale password management||Free for self hosted; $99/month for cloud hosted||Web, Ubuntu|
|CommonKey||Affordable team password management||Free for teams of 3; $2/user per year||Web, Chrome|
|Passwork||Building a custom tool from an open-source install||$9/year per user||Web, Android, iOS, Chrome, Windows|
Letting an ecommerce site keep your credit card on file for a one-click checkout is convenient, but it takes your personal information out of your control. The same is true with browsers that autofill passwords and forms—sometimes you aren’t even aware of what’s being saved. And if your laptop is stolen, everything your browser has saved is an open target.
Password managers are apps designed to both help you keep your accounts more secure and make it easier to remember unique passwords for every site. To do that, good password managers:
When you setup a password manager, you create one master password that is used to encrypt your password database. It needs to be a long, secure, hard-to-guess password that is only ever used with your password manager. It's the last password you ever need to remember. Every other password you can feel free to forget, since it's stored safely in your password manager.
Then, you'll add each of your online accounts to that password manager, and use its tools to help create more secure random passwords whenever you signup for a new account. When you need to login to an online account, you'll just enter your password manager's master password to unlock your other passwords.
And without having to remember each individual password, you can feel free to use extremely long, random passwords with every account—passwords that would be incredibly difficult to remember but would be far safer from brute-force attacks. No more using your last name and birth year as passwords—with a password manager,
AhPu3htCUy$ma6[dhTn3 is a perfectly usable password.
There are two main types of password managers: ones designed for personal use and those built for businesses. The former are great for keeping up with your own passwords and perhaps sharing them with your significant other, while the latter are designed to share passwords across a team so everyone has access to the same accounts. Here's a closer look at the best options.
Best for: Seamless offline and online password management
1Password one of the most popular password apps, and it works both online and offline. It lets you sync passwords across your devices via WiFi, iCloud, or Dropbox.
That means you're in complete control of how your passwords are synced. For example, you can save your passwords on your Mac at home, sync to Dropbox, then access those passwords from your office PC, phone, or view them online from Dropbox. Or, for extra security, you can just sync with your phone via WiFi when you're in the office, so your passwords are never saved online.
Then, you can sort your accounts into "vaults" to keep business and personal credentials separate. You can share a vault via Dropbox, perhaps with a significant other or coworker, to make sure you're only sharing the passwords that are meant to be shared. And with its "watchtower" feature, 1Password will continually check for hacked and compromised sites, so you'll know when you should change your passwords.
1Password's mobile app is a strong point, too. You can manage passwords on your phone, sign into online accounts, use your iPhone's Touch ID to unlock your 1Password database, and fill in passwords from Safari. Then, with a number of supported apps like Slack and Trello, you can tap the 1Password button in their apps to sign in with your 1Password accounts with only a couple taps.
Beyond that, 1Password also lets you save personal info including shipping addresses, passports copies, credit card info, driver's licenses and more. Or, you can use its Secure Notes to save encrypted notes about anything you want to keep safe.
1Password Pricing: $29.99
Check 1Password's guide to migrate your passwords to 1Password
Best for: Easy cross-platform access through any browser
LastPass is the password manager that works everywhere. It includes browser extension for Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Opera, desktop apps for Windows, Mac and Linux, and mobile apps for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry, and even Firefox OS. And it's free when used on only one device, making it a very affordable option.
If you opt for the premium version of LastPass, you can sync your passwords between as many devices as you want. The mobile app lets you copy any password and paste it into an app or web browser. If you're an iPhone user, you can use Touch ID to access your password vault, rather than the master password.
LastPass can also serve as a complete backup for your life, securing sensitive info like credit card and bank account numbers so you can access them from anywhere. And you can share specific folders of passwords, as a simple way to manage team accounts.
On a larger scale, LastPass Enterprise lets business owners manage passwords across an entire company via the LastPass web browser extension. You can even see the overall health of each team member’s passwords to spot weaknesses and make adjustments. It's a solid option for digital nomads and Fortune 500 companies alike.
LastPass Pricing: Free for single device; $12/year premium
Check LastPass's guide to migrate your passwords to LastPass
Best for: Monitoring and changing your passwords with one click
Dashlane wants to keep your passwords fresh. Its beautifully designed security dashboard scans all your accounts for weak, old or reused passwords and prompts you to change them periodically. Plus, Dashlane will alert you if a site you use is hacked, so you can change your password ASAP.
Changing passwords is painless, too: with Dashlane you can easily change multiple passwords at once with the one-click password changer on a number of supported websites.
Migrating to Dashlane from another manager is a snap. The desktop app will scan your computer for passwords saved in other locations, and import passwords from 1Password, LastPass, OSX Keychain, Firefox, Chrome and Internet Explorer within minutes.
In addition to securing your credit cards and bank accounts, Dashlane's digital wallet will also save your online receipts as you shop for a simple, itemized history of all your online purchases. It's a password manager that makes keeping up with your important data easier.
Dashlane Pricing: Free for single device; $39.99/year for premium mobile features
Check Dashlane's guide to migrate your passwords to Dashlane
Best for: Building your own encrypted vault
Built to do more than just manage passwords, oneSafe can actually act as an encrypted vault for files of nearly any type. You can organise files into folders on your computer, secure them with a unique password, and backup the encrypted data to any storage device.
oneSafe can keep anything you want secure: pictures and videos from your phone, front and back snapshots of your credit cards, Wi-Fi passwords and network configurations, insurance profiles, secret contacts, and even the combination for your gym locker. For extra security, you can even set up a “Decoy Safe” with fake login information to fool would-be thieves.
Templates are used to enter credit cards, web profiles, and loyalty cards, making them easy to read. Plus, oneSafe's search makes finding your saved files simple.
oneSafe also gives you unique options for logging in to your vault. Choose from a swipe pattern (like an Android phone), regular alphanumeric password, 4-digit pin number, Touch ID or a completely new approach called “Tri-Pin” with a special keyboard that uses 4-character combination of colors, shapes and numbers. For instance, a typical Tri-Pin passcode include “Purple, Square, Nine, Triangle”. The keyboard scrambles itself every time, so prying eyes can't pick up on patterns.
And, of course, there's cross-platform support. You can sync all your secret files to your mobile device using iCloud or Dropbox, and download files from Dropbox or Google Drive to your secure vault.
oneSafe Pricing: $19.99 for desktop; $4.99 for mobile
Check oneSafe's guide to migrate your passwords to oneSafe
Best for: Multi-device Apple users
Longtime Mac users should be very familiar with Keychain. It's built into OS X on every Mac, and has been Apple’s default password manager for many years. In fact if you're logged in to your Mac right now, then you're also logged in to your Keychain account.
iCloud Keychain is built into all recent versions of iOS and OS X, and keeps your secure data synced across your Apple devices through iCloud. All the WiFi, desktop app, and website passwords that you let Safari save are stored in iCloud Keychain automatically.
Keychain doesn’t just manage internet passwords, though: it’s your Mac’s complete database of secure information. Trusted WiFi networks, FTP server access, Apple TV info, and even encrypted disk images can be stored in Keychain.
Your Keychain is easily transferred from old devices to new ones, or can be automatically synced with iCloud. And its deep integration with your Mac means it's already storing passwords you might otherwise have forgotten.
Keychain on iOS can be accessed in Settings through Safari. From there, you can see the passwords and credit card info Safari auto-fills for you. It’s all secured by your 4 digit iPhone pin—and Touch ID which keeps others from accessing your phone. The desktop Keychain app allows you to view all of your saved passwords and organize your passwords into groups.
iCloud Keychain is built specifically to work within the Apple ecosystem. If you prefer Safari for browsing on your Mac, iPhone and iPad, then you'll find the experience effortless. But be warned: other mobile browsers like Chrome and Firefox aren't supported.
iCloud Keychain Pricing: Free
iCloud Keychain can only export to Keychain format, but there's a 3rd party tool to export Keychain passwords to a CSV file
Best for: A simple password tool
Splikity is a perfect first-time password manager user. It's a fast and simple way to manage your passwords on the web and your mobile devices.
Splikity's online dashboard makes it easy to add, delete and categorize your passwords. Then, its browser extensions on Chrome, Firefox and Safari autofill and autosave passwords for your favorite websites.
Download the Splikity mobile app and sign in to see all of your Splikity passwords and accounts synced and ready to go. You can visit sites using the in-app browser, and Splikity will auto-fill and autosave your passwords as you browse. Plus, Splikity lets you share a login with a friend via email—without actually revealing your password.
Splikity delivers what it promises: an easy and intuitive password-only manager that's focused on just making it easy to keep your accounts safel.
Splikity Pricing: $4.99/month; $49.99/year
Everyone needs a personal password manager to manage your own accounts and private info, but it's likely your team also needs a password tool. This one, though, would be designed to share accounts—a way to let everyone on your team log into your company's Twitter account or form builder whenever needed—or to make sure your team is all consistently using secure passwords.
You could use LastPass Enterprise, or Dashlane and 1Password's sharing tools, to share passwords across your team. Or, if you want a password manager designed specifically for businesses, these are the best apps for the job. They'll let you share passwords across an entire group, give temporary access to a contractor, monitor your team’s overall password security, and more.
Best for: Maximizing password security among your team
Meldium is a mix between a password manager and a web-app launcher, perfect for sharing accounts within your company.
Your organization’s home screen is called the “Launchpad”; it’s a list of your shared company accounts in one easy-to-use interface. Click on any of the shared apps, and Meldium will auto-fill the credentials in another browser tab. It's a quick way for anyone on your team to open any app they need.
Any team member with a Meldium account and the browser extension can access shared company accounts, which are organized by group. Administrators can invite new team members to any group via email, or onboard them manually.
Want to open up access to a personal account? No problem: With Meldium, you can register all of your team’s individual accounts from more than 2,300 supported apps, and use the dashboard to manage passwords and monitor activity.
Meldium also tracks password usage within your organization, and encourages better security practices with its “Password Report.” You can use the report to assess the strength of all the shared passwords across your entire team. Old or duplicate passwords are flagged as “dangerous,” and Meldium walks you through the update process.
Your organization’s security is as strong as its weakest password. Meldium gives you tools to clean up gaps in your team’s overall password strength.
Meldium Pricing: $24/month for 20 users; $67/month for 100 users; $169/month for 250 users
Check Meldium's guide to migrate your passwords to Meldium
Best for: Remote teams with shared accounts
Zoho Vault helps your team share private info and passwords fast and securely. Your team members just need to download the Zoho browser extension, and watch it auto-fill passwords from your team’s shared vault.
You can easily import all your passwords from another password manager with a .csv file, and begin sharing with your team right away. Personal password managers like LastPass and 1Password provide export tools just for this purpose—or you may already have a spreadsheet of team passwords that you can upload instead.
The Zoho reporting tools let you see an overview of your team’s password usage and security level, giving you visibility into who's using which login. The enterprise-level package will even send you alerts whenever a password is changed or accessed if you want.
With a quick onboarding process and a full set of tools, Zoho helps your team share passwords while monitoring each user’s usage.
Zoho Vault Pricing: Free for personal use; $1/month per user for standard features; $4/month per user for groups and reports; $7/month per user for Active Directory integration
Check Zoho's guide to migrate your passwords to Zoho Vault
Best for: Self-hosted team passwords for a one-time fee
IT professionals with dedicated servers will appreciate SimpleSafe as a customizable starting point for their own internal password solution.
The onboarding process begins with setting up your own custom database fields for the passwords you want to manage. Groups are used to organize passwords of the same format, and you can define the database field names you need while setting up SimpleSafe. That makes it easy to gather details on any private info your team needs to track.
The SimpleSafe dashboard works much like any other password manager, so your team can easily create groups and save passwords on their own. There's no browser extensions, so you'll have to copy and paste login details from the web app whenever you need to login.
SimpleSafe Pricing: $90
Best for: IT teams and large scale password management
Vaultier is another team password app that you can run on your own server, or for an easier option you can opt for its cloud hosted service. Or, you can easily host it with a pre-made Docker container with a complete Vaultier install.
Vaultier relies on personal encryption keys to secure passwords, even while securing them together for your whole team. Passwords are organized by “vaults”, then by “cards” for accounts with their own “secrets” containing passwords and account names. These groups work well for permissions, too: each user can have access to an entire vault, or just single card within a vault. Administrators can revoke or assign access levels to any user or team.
It's a team password manager focused on security, where each team member will feel safe using it for their personal accounts while still sharing team accounts securely.
Vaultier Pricing: Free for self hosted; $99/month for cloud hosted
Best for: Affordable team password management
CommonKey makes business password management affordable and practical for small or large teams. As a cloud-hosted solution, CommonKey works through browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox and Safari.
Sharable team password folders help organize the different groups at your company, and you can invite anyone to join these teams and revoke access as needed. Getting your team members onboarded with CommonKey is as easy as sending an email with an invitation link.
It works great as an individual password manager, too. Team members can add their own personal accounts or get access to your company passwords through the same interface. Personal and business passwords are segregated appropriately so no passwords are accidentally shared.
The CommonKey browser extension saves your passwords to the CommonKey dashboard effortlessly, and passwords are auto-saved and auto-filled as you and your team browse the web. There's even a password generator when registering new online accounts.
CommonKey Pricing: Free for teams of 3; $2/year per user after that
Best for: Building a custom tool from an open-source install
IT teams that insist on custom builds will appreciate Passwork’s open-source framework and completely transparent encryption algorithm. You can install Passwork on your own servers, or use their cloud-hosted app, and get access to the full set of features.
Passwork takes a unique approach to permissions: it lets you bring in temporary team members by sending an encrypted link with a time-sensitive, one-time-use password. Administrators can manage who has access to which passwords, and even see a history of password use in the dashboard.
Passwords are organized into groups, then into folders; groups work best for large teams, and folders can separate accounts by function. And logging into accounts is just as easy as with a personal password manager, with Passwork's browser extension.
Passwork Pricing: $9/year per user for web
Still haven't found what you need? Here are some other popular password manager apps that might fit your needs better.
|KeePass||One of the original free and open source password managers. Keepass' community of passionate users have built ports and extensions to support nearly any device and operating system. It has nearly all the features of other personal password managers for the low price of free.||Free||Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux|
|Keeper||Keeper's innovative approach to two-factor authentication senses the presence of your other personal devices to verify your identity instead of using randomized numbers.||$9.99/year per device||Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android|
|Master Password||Passwords aren't stored in Master Password behind an encrypted vault, and there is no syncing between devices. Instead an algorithm combines your username, the website URL and your master password to generate a password for each site. The mobile app and the desktop app stay in sync so long as your master password does not change.||Free||Mac, iOS, Linux, Android, Web|
|mSecure||Use templates to enter any type of data and save it behind MSecure's vault. Sync passwords through Dropbox or iCloud for access on any device. A self-destruct feature deletes your data when MSecure senses too many login attempts.||$9.99 mobile; $19.99 desktop||iOS, Mac, Windows, Android|
|SplashID||SpashID backups your passwords, so you can step back in time and see any of your previous passwords. You'll also be able to share passwords across your whole team and roll back changes if someone accidentally changes a password.||Free for one device; $19.99/year Pro||iOS, Android, Chrome, Mac, Windows|
|RoboForm||Change your browser's home page to RoboForm's password jump page and easily login to any of your password protected sites. You can also login to multiple sites with one click.||$19.95/year, plus $29.95 for the desktop app||iOS, Mac, Windows, Android, Linux|
|Sticky Password||From the team behind AVG, Sticky Password gives you most advanced password manager features for free—or help support manatees with a paid version. It lets you sync via Wifi, and includes a portable USB version.||Free; $19.95/year or $99 lifetime||iOS, Mac, Windows, Android|
Sometimes a password isn't enough. Even with the most secure password in the world, if someone wants to hack your accounts, they likely can find a way.
2-factor security is a way to advert that—instead of just one password, it requires you to enter both a password and a randomly generated code each time you login to an account. Enterprise software might use a key generator like the RSA SecurID device, while other business software uses authentication codes from apps like Google Authenticator or Authy. Or, many apps—including social networks—use SMS messages for 2-factor authentication; when you login, you'll get an SMS on your phone with a unique code to enter as well.
Each of these options would require a hacker to have your passwords and your 2-factor device or app in order to login to your accounts, making it far less likely you'd ever get hacked. It'll be more trouble—you'll need a password app and will need to setup 2-factor authentication—but will make your accounts far more secure, especially your sensitive accounts like email and banking services.
Whether you pick a personal password manager, or install a new enterprise password tool for your entire team, the most important thing is to rely on it. If you're still using simple passwords you can remember for your important accounts, you're still susceptible to being hacked and losing your digital life.
If you have another favorite password manager, or security tips to share, please leave a comment below.
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