A password manager is a software application or a hardware device used to store and manage a person's passwords and strong passwords. Typically all stored passwords are encrypted, requiring the user to create a master password to access all the stored, managed passwords.
How to Use a Password Manager
Today, people have a large number of passwords for social media sites, work logins, shopping pages, online banking and much more. While it is important to use strong passwords and to use different passwords on each site, it can be a difficult task to remember all them. With a password manager, you simply enter the site, provide the master password you set for the password manager in that software, then log in to the site and the username and password will be stored for you.
Using a password manager can also help you to create more secure passwords as it will create randomly generated passwords if you create new online accounts using the manager. Often, with a master password you can sync accounts across platforms as well.
Managing Passwords in a Web Browser
Most web browsers today, like Chrome, Firefox and Explorer have an integrated password manager, but they do not encrypt the passwords, so anyone with access to your computer can view your online passwords quite easily. Some options exist, like on Firefox, to encrypt passwords and use a master password to retrieve. While this makes the password manager more secure, browser-saved passwords typically will not work across platforms and the password managers lack features, including the ability to generate random passwords for new accounts.
Image Description: Setting up the Password Manager in Firefox
Hardware Password Managers
Many devices work in a similar fashion to software password managers. You first install a software app on your PC and connect the password manager using a USB port on the computer. When login pages are detected users are prompted to save the logins to the password device. All usernames, password and other required login information is stored encrypted, often on a protected smart card.
The app for the device can be customized to manage logins, information and to import or export credentials from various locations, including cloud storage.
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