Weak passwords are still a problem even today. According to data, 81% of data breaches are due to them. That’s why it’s more important than ever to use a password manager.
But how exactly do you find one that’s really secure? Well, I’ll show you exactly what things you should look for when trying to find a decent password manager.
Why You Need to 100% Make Sure You Use an Excellent Password Manager
Not just any password manager will do. If you’re not careful enough, you might end up using a service that leaves your data exposed. Or you might use a manager that cybercriminals manage to hack, exposing your data in the process. Or you might end up with a service that suffers bugs that can give unauthorized users access to your private data.
How to Choose a Really Good Password Manager (8 Features to Look for)
If you want a password manager to protect your data thoroughly, it should have the following features (or at the very least most of them):
1. A Password Generator
Coming up with strong passwords is hard work, especially if you have multiple accounts you want to secure. That’s why a password generator really comes in handy. It saves you tons of time and effort.
Ideally, it should be intuitive, and it should offer you some options to tweak. Also, it helps if the feature generates more than a password. I’m talking about being able to use it to generate PINs and passphrases.
2. Very Strong Security
It’s nice that a password manager can flag weak passwords and provide password generation features. But that’s not enough to protect your data.
It has to go the extra mile and use high-end encryption (preferably military-grade like AES, and end-to-end) to secure everything properly.
Besides that, here are other things the password manager should do:
- Alert you whenever you end up on a shady or phishing website.
- Alert you whenever a website you use suffered a breach.
- Offer automatic password updates for websites you use that got hacked.
- Not store your master password or transmit it over the network.
- Offer auto-lock features to make sure nobody can “accidentally” access your accounts when you’re not at your desk or laptop.
- Use secure input fields that stop other tools from knowing what you type when you use the password manager.
3. Two-Factor/Multi-Factor Authentication
Usually, if a password manager doesn’t offer this, it’s a red flag for me. Sure, they might offer decent security, but the only way I’m really going to feel 100% safe is if I have some control over it too.
And that’s where 2FA or MFA come into play. Basically, they offer extra login security by requiring you to enter a randomly generated code you get through email or your phone every time you want to log into your account. So, even if a hacker somehow manages to steal your master password, they won’t be able to break into your password manager account.
If the 2FA/MFA feature supports fingerprint sign-in, even better.
4. Multi-Platform Support
You might find the ideal password manager, but it won’t offer you the peace of mind you want if it doesn’t work on the platforms you use. I mean, let’s face it, you don’t want to keep having to boot up your Windows PC every time you need to use the manager.
Normally, a really good password manager should work on platforms like Windows (7 and above, maybe even XP), Linux distros (at the very least Ubuntu), macOS, iOS, and Android.
5. Digital Wallet Support
Digital wallets are becoming more and more popular since they’re so convenient. And since a password manager can protect your personal data pretty well, why not use it to keep other stuff safe, like your credit cards, for example?
Basically, this feature means the service will offer you a digital wallet which you can use to store your credit cards numbers and other payment information safely.
6. Import Features
Maybe you’re already using a password manager, but are not happy with it and are looking to switch to a better service.
In case you’re happy with the passwords you currently have, though, you’ll likely want to take them with you when you “move.”
So, you should make sure the password manager you’re checking out supports password database imports. That saves you plenty of time and is just convenient.
7. Emergency Third-Party Access
This means the password manager lets you assign emergency contacts (like your friends and family) who can use the service to access their accounts securely in an emergency situation.
If that feature isn’t available, at the very least the service should offer family plans, which let you share the password manager with other users.
8. Open-Source Code (Not Mandatory, But Ideal)
This isn’t really a must, but I’m adding it because I personally prefer open-source password managers. It just makes it easier to trust the devs because the entire code can be audited by security experts and other third parties.
Of course, I’m not saying that closed-source password managers are unsafe or bad. Some of them might even have security audits to prove their service is reliable. It really comes down to what makes you feel comfortable while using the password manager.
Need Help to find the Right Password Manager for You?
Doing research for this can be very tiring. I should know; I spent an hour just looking up a password manager, reading reviews about it, and comparing it to other services.
Luckily, I eventually came across this list of the best password managing tools. It’s a very good guide that saved me tons of time and effort, and I highly recommend you use it.