Passwords remain the foundation of our personal security online, but many users still refuse to follow best practices.
Technically, the safest password would be a long string of random characters, but it would be impossible to remember a random string of letters and numbers for each online account you have online – and writing your passwords down is a recipe for disaster.
This is where password managers come in. These platforms require you to only create and remember a single password which is extremely secure.
This password provides access to a locker of highly-secure, randomly-generated passwords generated for each of your online accounts, which you do not need to remember.
There are several of these platforms available, and we have compared the features of some of the most popular ones on the market.
Google Smart Lock
Google’s Smart Lock platform is unique in that it stores all of your passwords in the cloud and is linked to your Google account.
To properly use this service, you will need to create a highly-secure password for your Google account and preferably turn on two-factor authentication for added protection.
This platform is integrated with the Chrome browser on both PC and mobile, allowing users to generate passwords when registering and storing them in an encrypted locker for access.
The list of passwords generated and saved for your user accounts are saved at passwords.google.com and you will need to enter your Google password and authenticate your account to decrypt or change the passwords.
Google’s Smart Lock platform also offers useful functionality such as its Sync option, which allows you to automatically log in to services using synced passwords across all Chrome browsers and Android applications.
This platform offers great functionality for users who want an easy password solution which can be implemented through their existing Google account, although it is important that you keep your devices with Chrome installed secure if you choose to use Smart Lock as your primary password manager.
LastPass is the world’s most popular password manager, which can be used across a variety of platforms.
Your LastPass Vault is protected by a strong master password, and the platform has its own configurable password generator – which offers you the freedom to tweak the security of the keys you generate.
Passwords are stored in the cloud and protected with 256-bit encryption, and two-factor authentication is supported through the platform’s application.
LastPass is available as an application on many devices and operating systems, although you will need to install the LastPass browser extension to integrate the password generator and vault with your web browsing.
Unlike Google, LastPass offers premium packages which include additional features such as encrypted cloud storage, emergency access, priority technical support, and one-to-many password sharing. LastPass also works with multiple browsers.
1Password functions similarly to LastPass and is a third-party application compatible with multiple platforms and browsers.
The platform is available from $2.99 per month, and offers encrypted cloud storage and technical support in addition to dedicated mobile and PC apps.
However, this password manager also offers users the ability to create multiple password vaults stored behind different master passwords.
This can be used to separate vaults into different tiers of security or frequency of use, granting an extra layer of security to encrypted password lists.
1Password also alerts users to when a website suffers a data breach and one of your generated passwords has been compromised.
This is accomplished through the password manager’s partnership with Have I Been Pwned.