It can be highly disconcerting to know that one of the most common ways cybercriminals gain access to personal information is through software programs that have become increasingly effective at quickly and correctly guessing our passwords. While the stakes for using strong passwords get higher, the criteria for creating and tracking our many passwords often seems increasingly frustrating and complex. Thankfully, there are now a number of excellent free and low-cost online tools that have made this process simple and secure. What’s more, many offer valuable features such as military-grade encryption, the ability to designate an emergency contact, the option to choose how you want your data stored and much more. Here are just a few password management services that security experts recommend in 2018:
Dashlane: Free for one device or $39.96 per year to sync your data across multiple devices, this user-friendly service generates and stores secure passwords for you, autofills online forms and enables you to designate a contact who will have access to your information in case of an emergency. Dashlane also provides a digital wallet option that stores your financial account information and allows you to capture and store your receipts. Like the majority of online password managers, Dashlane stores all of your passwords in one file that is accessed through one secure master password. Not only does the app use military-grade AES-256 encryption to secure your passwords, but it also alerts you if any of the sites you use have reported a breach. Already using a password manager but want to give this service a try? Dashlane allows you to import from CSV files and competitors such as 1Password, LastPass and RoboForm.
EnPass: Experts praise Enpass for its compatibility with a wide variety of devices, from Blackberry and iOS to Chromebooks and Linux, and for its unique pricing model which allows users to pay a one-time fee of $9.99 for each mobile device or use the desktop version for free. Instead of using cloud-based storage, EnPass operates using local stores of data, which can reduce your exposure to the possibility of a breach. Essentially, this means that your data always remains on your device unless you decide to sync it across multiple devices through cloud accounts including iCloud (for Apple devices only), Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive or Box. Confused about whether cloud-based or local storage makes sense for you? Check out "Cloud storage for password managers— are you for or against?"
LastPass: With a free basic version and $24 per year fee for its premium service, LastPass is a cost-effective provider that uses first-rate encryption and integrates seamlessly with browser extensions. The service allows you to save sites as you login, import sites from your email or upload data from other password managers. In addition, LastPass will create strong passwords for you and auto fill online forms. Another useful feature is the capability to audit your accounts for duplicate and weak passwords. Unlike competitors, it also allows you to instantly sync your data with multiple devices for free. Among its premium product offerings are priority tech support and the ability to create a contingency plan for emergency access.
This password manage offers enticing advantages including biometric confirmation using Touch ID on mobile devices and the option to choose whether you want to synchronize your encrypted password data on all your devices via the cloud or offline using your local Wi-Fi (so that your data never leaves your devices). Although you can download the desktop and mobile app for free, you’ll need to subscribe to the premium service at $29.99 per year to access features such as the biometric authentication and synchronization with multiple devices. Sticky Password also generates new passwords for you, autofills Web forms, uses AES-256 encryption and can store your credit card numbers for easy checkout while shopping.
Although it’s not impossible for unauthorized users to gain access to your data via a password manager, most of these services safeguard your information using advanced encryption methods as well as multifactor authentication, which requires a password and verification code that’s contained on your devices. That being said, breaches have occurred, so it’s important that you do enough research to ascertain whether you’re comfortable with the level of security that the service provides. If you’re uneasy, you may prefer to choose a provider like Enpass that enables you to store all of your passwords on your own devices and does not host your data on its servers. As the British cybersecurity company Sophos points out, hackers are more likely to target mass numbers of password vaults rather than a single password vault stored by one person.
It can also be reassuring to know that SF Police Credit Union takes every necessary measure to safeguard our members’ personal financial information with a continual investment in advanced security technology including but not limited to: multifactor authentication, data encryption, 24x7 real-time attack and suspicious activity monitoring, intrusion detection and prevention and threat intelligence and tracking. In the past year alone, we’ve also integrated a comprehensive strategy for risk mitigation that includes a multi-layered end point protection solution to provide heightened security, data leak prevention and advanced threat protection.