The Best, Free Password Managers for 2015

lockIf a major hack attack exposes thousands or millions of email accounts, including yours, there’s nothing you can do except change your password pronto. But if some script kiddie gets into your email because your password was password or 123456, well, the consequences are your own darn fault. A lucky guesser who gets access to your email account can level up to taking over your other accounts by triggering and intercepting password reset emails. If you don’t have one already, you need to get a password manager and use it to change all your logins to crazy-tough passwords like G2#iywoYXq$2T34d or %N!46vY758WEr#*8. Hey, you don’t have to remember the password, so it can be long and strong.

 

Basic Features
Your typical password manager integrates with the browser and captures the username and password when you log in to a secure site. Occasionally you’ll find one that doesn’t automate password capture and replay, but these may have other virtues, like filling in passwords for secure applications, not just Web pages.

When you revisit a site for which you’ve saved credentials, most password managers automatically fill the saved data, offering a menu if you’ve saved more than one set of credentials. Another handy (and common) feature is a browser toolbar menu of available logins, so that with one click you can navigate to a site and log in.

 

Advanced Features
The point of adding a password manager to your security arsenal is to replace your weak and duplicate passwords with strong, unguessable passwords. But where do you get those strong passwords? Most password managers can generate strong passwords for you; many let you take control of things like password length, and which character sets will be used. The very best ones offer a password strength report that eases the process of identifying and fixing poor passwords.

 

The Contenders

  • LastPass 3.0 – With a wealth of multifactor authentication options and a newly redesigned user interface, LastPass 3.0 remains PC Magazine’s Editors’ Choice for password management.
  • Password Box Premium – Despite the name, PasswordBox Premium is free for you to use, and its feature set comes close to the best free password managers. In particular, its Legacy Locker handles passing along your credentials in the event of your death.
  • 1U Password Manager – Powerful biometric authentication is the star feature in 1U Password Manager. The password manager itself is pretty basic, however, and it could use some user-interface work.
  • Norton Identity Safe – Norton Identity Safe hasn’t changed much over the years, while some competitors have advanced. It’s a fine, free password manager; it’s just not the most up-to-date offering.
  • WWPass – WWPass, BlackBook and Personal Secure Storage emphasizes security over fancy password-management features. Two-factor authentication is mandatory, and it splits your cloud data across multiple servers to foil hackers. It’s off to a good start but it still needs some polish.
  • KeePass – The free, open-source KeePass 2.28 password manager takes a bit more effort than some to set up. It’s a nice choice for high-tech experts, but may be a bit daunting for the average user.
  • OneID – With no master password required, managing your passwords with oneID is extremely simple. However, its device-based authentication can be risky unless you take proper precautions.

 

Written by:
Donna DiPasquale
IT Consultant
BHHS Homesale Realty
Wyomissing Office

 

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