Hackers routinely cross a list of weak passwords with a list of, say, PayPal accounts, trolling for matches. If they crack your account, you could lose big money. Worse, if you use the same password for other accounts, the hackers could take control of your email, social media, and financial accounts.
Using a unique, strong password for every site is essential, and the only way to do it is to enlist the help of a password manager. We’ve evaluated dozens of password managers to help you choose the one that suits you best.
THE PASSWORD BASICS
The typical password manager installs as a browser plugin to handle password capture and replay. When you log in to a secure site, it offers to save your credentials. When you return to that site, it offers to automatically fill in those credentials. And when you’ve saved multiple logins for the same site, the password manager offers you multiple account login options. Most also offer a browser toolbar menu of saved logins, so you can go straight to a saved site and log in automatically.
Some products detect password-change events and offer to update the existing record. Some even record your credentials during the process of signing up for a new secure website. On the flip side, a password manager that doesn’t include password capture and replay automation needs to offset that lack with significant other assets.