A password manager is an application that securely stores your passwords and helps generate new passwords. It is important to use unique and strong passwords for all of your devices and accounts, and a password manager can relieve the burden of inventing and remembering passwords. It also helps you avoid the risk of writing passwords down or storing them insecurely.
Choosing a Password Manager
A good password manager will offer most or all of these features:
- Store passwords in a secure, encrypted manner, so that only you can access and view them.
- Store passwords for many accounts.
- Generate passwords for you. This is especially helpful for creating highly-secure, long, complex passwords you will use with sensitive accounts or websites.
- Automate the process of logging in by filling passwords in for you.
- Require multi-factor authentication to see and change passwords in the password manager.
- Available on and can sync across many devices.
Using a Password Manager
The most important thing to do when you begin using a password manager is to secure it by using a unique account name and a unique and strong password to log in to it. Using multi-factor authentication to protect it is also highly recommended.
When creating a password for your password manager:
- Follow the guidance on Manage Your Passwords in creating your master password.
- Make sure you remember this password! For most password managers, if you forget your master password you will lose access to all your other passwords!
When you are using your password manager to create and store passwords:
- Use a unique account name/username for each account whenever possible.
- Use a unique password for each login or account.
- Use the password manager's ability to auto-create long and complicated passwords, especially for accounts that work with sensitive data, such as your bank account.
- Avoid the temptation to write passwords down, especially the temptation to write them down and hide them around your workspace!
Many Options to Choose From
ITS Information Assurance does not recommend any particular password manager for your personal use. There are many free and low-cost options to choose from.