Managing passwords has become a very challenging part of everyday life. Working in a library and helping guests use our computers, website, apps, and various software, I’ve realized that this is a huge issue for most people. It’s one of the most common technology issues we help people with. I’ve actually had people start crying in frustration over a problem with passwords. And it’s not their fault, managing passwords is really, really, hard.
I used to think I was good at it until my Hulu account got hacked. Yep, I tried to log in one day and discovered that someone had gotten into my account and changed the password and email to theirs. That was easy to resolve, Hulu was great and took care of it right away. But then I realized that I had used that password for some other things. Things that were a big deal, like my PayPal account. Yikes! Now, I had always told myself that I wouldn’t use that password for anything important, it was just supposed to be an easy to remember one for simple things. But then I would get in a hurry and use it for important sites, telling myself that I was going to change it later. I never did. So that’s when I realized that it’s time for me to get a password manager.
A password manager is a software that keeps track of your passwords. You just have to remember the password for the manager – it remembers all the others. This is a bit controversial for some people, and I get it. Putting all your passwords in one place seems like a bad idea. But after getting hacked I realized that I was in more danger from myself. I wasn’t using strong passwords, and I wasn’t ever changing them. So I decided that there was less risk in using a good manager than trying to manage it all myself. And I can honestly say that I feel much better since I set up the service.
If you’d like to know more about password managers, here are some resources:
- Wirecutter (owned by The New York Times) has a good discussion about the benefits of a password manager, opens a new window.
- How to Geek has a great explanation of how they work and a review of several top managers, opens a new window.