Password managers are tools used to store, share, and manage passwords. When used correctly, they can save you time and help protect your online data by suggesting and storing strong, unique passwords across your accounts.
What is a password manager?
A password manager is software application designed to store and manage online credentials. With a password manager, you set a master password and use that master password to access the rest of your online account usernames and passwords, which are stored by the manager in an encrypted form that can only be accessed by you.
Davidson T&I currently recommends BitWarden and 1Password for personal use. Departments and individual users who need to store and share significant amounts of Davidson system passwords and other sensitive information are strongly encouraged to use a T&I-provided college password management system. Contact email@example.com for more information.
What are the benefits of using a password manager?
- They can auto-generate secure passwords for you. Password managers will prompt you to use an auto-generated password when creating a new account with a website or application. These passwords are random, long, and difficult to guess as well as hard for algorithms to hack.
- Password managers save time. Beyond storing passwords, password managers can auto-fill credentials for faster access to online accounts.
- Many password managers sync across different operating systems and browsers. If you have Mac, Windows, Android, or iOS devices, you will be able to access the same password manager across these platforms and on different browsers, like Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Safari.
- They help protect your identity. Password managers alert you to any duplicated passwords. By having only unique passwords, a cybercriminal will have a much harder time accessing other accounts from a single compromised password.
Are password managers safe?
Despite the risks of using a password manager, it is far more secure to utilize one than to reuse passwords across multiple systems. Creating unique and strong passwords for each of your online accounts is difficult, so often we create one strong password and use it across multiple accounts, or create multiple simple passwords that are easy to remember. Both methods put online accounts at risk.
Password managers help mitigate this risk by allowing users to create one very strong master password and use it to unlock the rest of your passwords. Much like seat belt use reduces traffic deaths even if seat belts sometimes can cause injury, a password manager still reflects the lowest-risk way to protect secrets like site passwords.
Of course, a password manager is only as safe as the master password used to access it. Learn more about password best practices.