To protect your online accounts, you need strong and unique passwords. Mixed characters, lowercase and uppercase letters and preferably as long as possible. Remembering all these passwords is impossible. That is why it is advisable to use a password manager: a digital safe that stores all your passwords.
Thanks to this safe you only have to remember one strong master password. This forms the access to all other passwords. However, there are many different managers on the market, all of which have their own advantages and disadvantages. For example, there are differences in the available functions, user-friendliness and the method of protection.
A safe solution, but not without risk
The use of a manager is not without risk. Most users keep the password vault in the cloud, which is a reason to look critically at security and privacy. You are also dependent on the security of the cloud service in question.
Yet there are also managers who keep the safe offline, such as KeePass. The advantage is that the user is responsible for security and the location where the passwords are stored. A disadvantage of the offline variant is that the user must rely on the manager's encryption technique.
Yet using a password manager is safer than saving your passwords in a file on your PC, in your browser or simply remembering them. The vault is usually well encrypted and the companies behind the password managers claim that you are the only one who knows the master password. To help you get started with choosing, read below a number of pros and cons of frequently used managers.
See also: This is how you choose a strong password
Dashlane is one of the best known and most popular managers on the market. This is known as a very user-friendly manager with many benefits, including:
- It is suitable for all operating systems;
- Built-in VPN connection with which you can always set up a secure, anonymous connection on public networks. This way you prevent someone from watching you and stealing your data;
- Software that searches for your data on the internet and darkweb and reports it as soon as something is wrong;
- Software that automatically enters, adjusts and organizes passwords and (payment) data. You can also securely share other data and documents with third parties;
- A password generator that invents new passwords. Opinions are, however, divided on the quality of the passwords generated.
However, this manager also has disadvantages. The premium version costs around 34 euros per year. If you opt for the free version, you can only use the service on one device, as synchronization is not supported. The mobile version can also be a bit more user-friendly.
LastPass is just like Dashlane one of the most used password managers. This also has a number of advantages:
- It is available on all devices and supports all browsers. This makes it possible to synchronize your backup on any device, so that you can always access your passwords anywhere;
- It fully integrates into your browser. A nice extra, because you often enter the most passwords there;
- It supports fingerprints, provided that the device you use also does this. So you can log in with your fingerprint and you no longer have to remember a password;
- Just like with Dashlane you can save other documents and (payment) data securely in addition to your passwords and share them with third parties;
- It is secured with, among other things, local encryption and two-step verification (2FA).
This manager also has a hefty price tag: 40 euros per year. The free version does not support mobile apps. Also with this version it is not possible to share passwords in a safe way. And perhaps the biggest disadvantage: the security problems that LastPass has had in the past.
KeePass is an odd man out. There are different variants of this manager, including various browser extensions and Android apps. Your vault is also not stored in the cloud, but on your computer. If you still want to synchronize your passwords and data on multiple devices, you need a separate cloud service, such as Dropbox. A number of benefits:
- Supported by many operating systems, including Windows, Mac and Linux;
- It is completely free;
- Secured by two-step verification (2FA);
- Automatically entering username and password;
- It indicates how secure your chosen password is.
A few things can be said about the ease of use: logging in and changing passwords is not automatic, but requires more actions. KeePass is a must for the experienced user who likes to be in charge of privacy and security.
Of course there are many other managers, including Enpass, 1Password and Keeper Individual. When choosing, pay particular attention to the points that are important to you: storage in the cloud or not, paid or not, synchronization options and the options for on your phone.