I Finally Set Up a Password Manager—and You Really Should, Too
Anyone who doesn’t already have a password manager needs one—stat. Talking about online security might not be the most glamorous topic, but with the huge number of password-requiring accounts and sites online, it’s quickly becoming one of the most important ones, especially because an ill-intentioned person with the right password can wreak havoc across one’s finances, social media accounts, and more.
News surrounding online security breaches, major hacks, data leaks, improper password encryption and storage, and more is everywhere, and the security breaches just seem to be getting bigger and bigger. Sites from Equifax—which stores tax IDs and driver’s license details, among other personal information—to Facebook have faced breaches in information security, putting individuals’ personal information at risk.
Like many, many other people, I didn’t let security breaches bother me too much, and I continued to store my growing list of passwords in a way that was decidedly unsafe and relatively easy to hack. My password storage method included passwords and information on everything from my bank accounts to my gym membership; anyone who could have gotten access to it would have known everything necessary to digitally ruin my life. I knew this, people told me this, and still I put off one of the best, quickest solutions to password leaks: setting up a password manager.
Plenty of digital security experts recommend setting up a password manager. These encrypted accounts hold all that private, personal information, and users only have to remember the password to that one account. Password managers store passwords and can even remind users to update them regularly, another security measure people should take but often don’t.
Password managers replace the old-school method of writing passwords down on easily lost pieces of paper or otherwise storing them unsafely on a phone or computer. Ideally, we’d all be able to remember our passwords, but there are so many to remember—because we all know using the same password for everything is irresponsible—that recording them somewhere is all-but necessary. Unfortunately, the more common methods of keeping track of passwords aren’t secure and could put you at risk.
Password managers are secure and encrypted in ways that are very difficult to hack. They update users on any suspicious activity and can even securely store copies of important documents, including passports and social security cards. I did a little research before picking one and ended up using LastPass, but there are several respectable options out there. Just be sure to research any to confirm they’re legitimate before inputting passwords and private information.
One of my many excuses for setting up a password manager was that it would take forever to put in my dozens and dozens of usernames and passwords, but LastPass made it simple, and I can make it a gradual process. Every time I log into a site over the next few weeks, LastPass stores that information for next time. All together, initial set-up took less than an hour—and I was watching some binge-worthy Netflix Originals while I did it.
LastPass is a free password manager, though premium subscriptions start at $3 per month and include sharing options, multi-factor authentication, emergency access, and more. LastPass will even help generate random, un-guessable passwords when it’s time to update them all. The app is clean and easy to use, and it means I can take my passwords with me everywhere, and they’re always safely stored.
I felt daunted by the process of setting up a password manager for a long, long time, but now that’s it done, I feel accomplished—and I know that my passwords and personal information are safe. Can you say the same?