Manage Passwords » Best Way to Store Passwords

Be honest: How many passwords are you currently using? Statistically speaking, you can probably count that number on one hand, because 6 out of 10 Germans use the same exact password for multiple online services. That probably goes for you as well. In this article, we tell you why that's unsafe, what you can do to remedy that, and how you can easily use hundreds of highly secure passwords in everyday life.

How Do Thieves Get Passwords?

Let's assume for a minute that you're using only one password for multiple services. For this thought experiment, we're using one of the most popular passwords out there: 123456. A hacker has to be right only once to attack you from multiple angles: Access to your email account and another service and a thief is pretty much free to do whatever they like. With a few clicks, they can even bar you from your account, while having full control of your online shopping profiles and even your bank accounts.

But even if you're cautious and using passwords more secure than "123456", the dangers aren't quite eliminated. There are two main threats you can counteract with the right password strategy: Data leaks and brute force attacks.

Data leaks

A data leak occurs when unauthorized persons gain access to a company's data collection. Passwords and user data regularly fall into the wrong hands this way. If you're using the same password for every service you use, an attacker can use the data they stole at Company A and see if they work with Company B and take over that account, too.

Unfortunately, the control of your own security isn't in your hands in this case. You'll have to trust the transparency of the affected service.

How to protect yourself from data leaks: By using multiple passwords for all your services and accounts, you can mitigate the damage in case of a leak.

Brute force attacks

Brute force attacks are more focused attacks. Thieves try to, simply put, "crack" your password by automatically testing random combinations.

How to protect yourself from brute force attacks: The more secure your passwords are, meaning the longer it is and the more symbols it has, the harder it gets for attackers to crack it. Use the EXPERTE.com Password Check to find out how easily your passwords can be cracked.

How Do I Protect Myself Effectively?

If you want to protect yourself from data leaks and brute force attacks, you need to use different passwords for every service you use and make them as complex as possible. For those who aren't exactly blessed with a photographic memory it's pretty much impossible to remember every password. And that's why there are password managers. They remember the password for you.

Passwort Managers - Managing Secure Passwords

A password manager is an application that manages your passwords in an automated way. Your login information is securely stored in a digital vault that you can access with your master password - the only password you have to remember.

There are password managers for desktop computers as well as mobile devices. Many providers offer free version of their apps as part of their freemium business model. Oftentimes, you only get full access to every feature if you subscribe to a monthly plan. Every app is different - but some features should always be available to you:

Autofill

With a password manager installed on your device, you'll never have to manually type in passwords. Your password manager remembers every website that you have login information for and fills out login forms for you whenever you open the website. The password manager also automatically stores new password for websites you newly register for.

Autofill at Enpass

Password Generator

To avoid falling to brute force attacks, your passwords need to be long and complex. But, no worries, you won't have to randomly smash your hands onto your keyboard; your password manager will automatically generate highly secure passwords for you. You can determine how long your password ought to be and whether it should contain letters, digits or symbols.

Password-Generator at NordPass

Security Hub

Most password managers have some sort of security hub that gives you a concise overview of threats such as weak or repeated passwords and how to remedy them. Apps often give the level of your security a score or percentage.

Dashlane's Identity Dashboard

Aside from those basic features, the various password managers you can find on the market can differ greatly when it comes to functionality. Dashlane sets itself apart from its competitors with its great Password Changer that lets you change multiple passwords at once at the click of your mouse. StickyPass offers its users a portable version of its app which is super convenient for travelling. Some providers even offer extras like a VPN.

In our great EXPERTE.com Password Manager Test, we look at 14 apps in great detail. We've tested the features they come with, their usability, security, support and pricing. These are the results:

Dashlane
Review Score
4.6 / 5
excellent
Visit Website
Sticky Password
Review Score
4.3 / 5
good
Visit Website
Avira
Review Score
4.3 / 5
good
Visit Website
LastPass
Review Score
4.2 / 5
good
Visit Website
1Password
Review Score
4.2 / 5
good
Visit Website
Keeper Security
Review Score
4.2 / 5
good
Visit Website
RoboForm
Review Score
4.2 / 5
good
Visit Website
NordPass
Review Score
4.2 / 5
good
Visit Website
Enpass
Review Score
4.0 / 5
good
Visit Website
Bitwarden
Review Score
3.9 / 5
good
Visit Website
McAfee
Review Score
3.8 / 5
good
Visit Website
Kaspersky
Review Score
3.8 / 5
good
Visit Website

Conclusion

The times when a password manager used to be a "nice-to-have" feature are long gone. These days, the key to your identity, your earthly possessions and your reputation consists of a string of random letters, digits symbols - so it best be as secure as possible. Password managers are the best solution you can get. Many providers offer free packages, and after first installing them you'll save a ton of time that, in the past, you've wasted creating passwords (and let's just not talk about the countless times you've clicked "Forgot password?").

There are very few reasons to not use a password manager: They are user-friendly, time-saving, secure and most of the time free of charge. They should be part of every Internet user's inventory.

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Author (German Version): Martin Gschwentner
Martin Gschwentner majored in American Studies and Media Studies in Germany, the USA and France and works as a freelance editor in Paris. He is a doctoral student at the Institute for English and American Studies at the University of Paris Diderot, where he is researching the influence of money on US politics. On EXPERTE.com he writes about IT security, data protection and software for the self-employed and small businesses.
English Translator & Editor: Brendan Philipp