Weve all been there. Eager to quickly log-in to check your bank balance or to checkout while shopping online, you reach the enter password step and your mind goes blank.
The next (weary) step is to reset your password. To make it easier to remember the next time, its tempting to fall back on to the trusty name and number combo that you use for your email, social media accounts and work laptop.
But resist, as this could open you up to all kinds of problems if one of your accounts is hacked.
To help you make your internet passwords simpler and more secure, here we take a look at why its so important to get them right, the dos and donts of choosing passwords, and the tools that could make your online life easier.
We store so much information about ourselves online, whether in our emails, on social media platforms, via online banking or on shopping sites, that its important to password-protect accounts.
This means that to access these accounts, youll usually need to enter both your email address or username and a password of your choosing.
Unfortunately, there are cyber criminals who are looking to exploit weaknesses in your online accounts, in order to steal data about you so they can commit identity fraud or to gain access to your bank account.
So, its important to choose a password thats hard to guess to prevent leaving yourself open to being hacked online.
To keep your online accounts secure, follow our dos and donts when deciding on your password.
A password manager is a piece of software that stores your internet passwords securely for you. This means that you dont have to remember the passwords for every website you access just one master password to access them all.
Some password managers will also help you to choose the most secure passwords for each site by generating suggested passwords made up of a combination of numbers, letters and symbols.
There are free and paid-for password managers available. You may have one automatically included with your internet browser, device or computer, such as Google Password Manager and iCloud Keychain, plus those included with Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer.
While these offer password storage, and sometimes extras such as storage for addresses and payment information, they are usually limited to certain devices and browsers and only offer basic features.
Extra features that may be included with paid-for password managers include:
If youre considering signing up to a dedicated password manager service, its important to understand what the different options offer.
To help you to decide the best password manager for your needs, weve listed some of the most popular choices below with their key features.
Dashlane calls itself the app that makes the internet easier, claiming that it can can radically simplify your whole life online. It will create, save and autofill strong passwords for your online accounts.
Its free plan allows you to use it on one device and store up to 50 passwords which can be accessed using one master password. It will also autofill forms and payment details, alert you when sites you use suffer security breaches, has two-factor authentication and you can securely share up to five accounts.
Upgrading to its premium plan will cost you $3.33 a month (around 2.62) or $39.99 a year (around 31.43), which gives you all of the features of the free account, plus unlimited passwords and devices, dark web monitoring and alerts, and VPN for WiFi protection.
Theres also a family plan which allows you to invite up to five other people to use it for $4.99 a month (around 3.93) and business plans from $5 per user, per month (around 3.94). Find out more here
LastPass says that it remembers all your passwords across every device for free. Youll need to install its browser extension, create a strong master password and create a manager vault where you can add, view and manage items.
Its free plan allows access on all devices, one-to-one password sharing, will save, generate and fill passwords, as well as alerting you to weak passwords, and has secure notes, security challenges and multi-factor authentication.
Upgrading to its premium plan for 2.60 a month will give you everything from the free account plus one-to-many password sharing, emergency access (ensuring someone else has access to important information in case of an emergency), advanced multi-factor options (such as fingerprint authentication), priority tech support, LastPass for applications, and dark web monitoring.
A family plan for 3.40 a month allows up to six users to use the subscription. Business plans are available too. Find out more here
Keeper says that it is the leading cybersecurity platform for preventing password-related data breaches and cyberthreats and promises that if you use it, youll never have to remember or worry about passwords again.
You can sign up to a free 30-day trial of Keeper Unlimited and then enjoy limited features for free after this on one mobile device only, including the ability to generate passwords, unlimited password storage, identity and payment storage, and two-factor authentication.
For 2.49 a month or 29.99 a year you can sign up to Keeper Unlimited after your trial, which will give you use and access on unlimited devices, unlimited password storage, unlimited identity and payment storage, fingerprint and face ID log-in, secure record sharing, emergency access, a web app and 24/7 support.
There are more expensive options that include secure file storage, and dark web monitoring, as well as family plans from 5.99 a month and business plans from 3.33 per user, per month. Find out more here
1Password says it is The worlds most-loved password manager. It says that it will allow you to log in to sites and fill forms securely with a single click.
You can try a 30-day free trial and then it costs $2.99 a month (around 2.35). For this youll get access on unlimited devices with apps for Mac, iOS, Windows, Android, Linux, and Chrome OS, unlimited passwords, 1GB document storage, 24/7 email support, two-factor authentication, a travel mode (which removes sensitive data from your devices when you cross borders, then restores access with a click when you arrive), and a 365-day history to allow you to restore deleted passwords.
Theres also a family plan which allows you to share with up to five users for $4.99 a month (around 3.91) and a business plan for $7.99 per user, per month (around 6.27). Find out more here
RoboForm says that, as a user, you will never need to remember or type your passwords again and calls itself one-click convenience.
Theres a free version, available on a range of browsers, which will store an unlimited number of log-ins, automatically fill in web forms, audit passwords, save passwords for applications, securely send logins, and manage bookmarks. It also has strong encryption and emergency access.
Its Everywhere account costs $1.99 a month (around 1.57), billed annually, and includes all of the features of the free account, plus access across all browsers and devices, Cloud back-up, two-factor authentication, a secure shared folder, emergency access and priority 24/7 support.
Theres also a family plan for up to five users for $3.98 (around 3.13) and business plans from $29.95 per user, per year (around 23.52), based on a one-year subscription. Find out more here
The rest is here:
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