What is a Password Manager?

So, you’ve just created another account online, and now you're faced with the daunting task of coming up with a new password that's both unique and complex (and that you’ll remember!) This is where a password manager can help.

April 25, 2024

Password managers

Imagine having a super smart friend who remembers every single one of your passwords you have for every website, and keeps them safe and sound. Well, a password manager will do the same. It's an application that securely stores, generates, and manages passwords for all of your online accounts. With a password manager, you only need to remember one master password, the password manager takes care of the rest.

Think of it as safe where all your passwords are stored and the master password as the key to the safe.

Your master password

Because you only need to remember one password - it has to be unique and strong. If someone guesses your master password, they may be able to access all your passwords (which is not a good thing!).

The best thing to do is make it a passphrase as opposed to a password.

Passphrases are a combination of random words, for example, ‘crystal onion clay pretzel’.

The best passphrases:

  • Are at least 14 characters long

  • Use a random mix of four or more words

  • Do not use popular phrases, for example, song lyrics or famous quotes

Passphrases are easy for you to remember and hard for machines to crack.

Multi-factor authentication

Multi-factor authentication is a method of increasing the security of a password manager.

It requires you to prove your identity in two or more ways before you can access sensitive features of your password manager. It typically requires a combination of at least two of:

  • Something you know (e.g. a passphrase or PIN)

  • Something you have (e.g. an authenticator app)

  • Something you are (e.g. your fingerprint or face scan).

Enabling multi-factor authentication on your password manager adds an additional layer of security. It means that even if a cybercriminal learns your master password, they will not be able to access your other passwords as your other authentication methods keep your password manager secure.

Choosing a password manager

When choosing a password manager, do your research to make sure that the seller has a good reputation and that their product has strong security features, strong privacy features and is maintained with regular security updates.

Different password managers have different features. Consider what features are important to you. You may want to check if your password manager:

  • Has a plan that covers family members

  • Can manage your passwords across multiple devices

  • Supports all the different devices you use

  • Ensures only you can see your saved passwords, even the company that makes the password manager cannot see them.

  • Many password managers are free and some are included with certain devices and programs.

You can use password managers on computers and mobile devices.

Source: cyber.gov.au
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