Criminals are finding more and more ways to tap into all sorts of websites, including social media accounts, in order to steal people's identity, information and money.
They don't care who you are -- if you're online, you have a target on your back for thieves. And the more they can find about you online -- your name, birth date, family members' names etc. -- the easier it is to crack into your various online accounts.
This is why it's so important these days to use secure passwords. The problem is that it's pretty much impossible to remember all those goofy passwords with numbers, letters and symbols that we know we should be using for optimal protection!
So to help protect you from criminals online, here are some tools that store and secure all your passwords in one place.
These sites offer free and/or low-cost password protection
DashLane offers a free service that comes with basic capabilities, as well as a premium package that costs $39 a year for more bells and whistles. The basic way DashLane works is by generating a new master password for you everyday so all your accounts stay locked down. The service also offers the ability to act as an automatic form filler.
According to PC Mag's rating of the latest version of DashLane, the user experience is "smoother and easier than ever." Here are some the benefits that got the service such a high rating:
- Supports PC, Mac, Android and iOS.
- Two-factor authentication.
- Actionable password strength rating.
- Automated password change for 500 sites.
- Secure sharing.
- Digital legacy.
- Advanced form-filling.
- Captures receipts for online shopping.
Check out the website to compare the free and premium packages available.
LastPass is another highly rated password manager. LastPass allows you to store multiple complicated passwords for websites and have one point of access, so you only have one password to remember. It's also a freemium site, which means it offers both a basic, free version, as well as a premium version for $12 a year that comes with more bells and whistles.
Here are a few of the service's best features:
- Syncs passwords across all your devices.
- Secure multifactor authentication.
- Automated password changing.
- Password sharing (to give family members access to certain accounts).
- Actionable security report. Password inheritance.
Sticky Password will cost you more -- about $30 for one-year or $99 for a lifetime subscription -- but it's rated as one of the top password management services by PC Mag. The service doesn't provide online access to passwords as an extra safety precaution, so your passwords never leave your home network. Check out the website for more details on pricing and packages available.
LogMe Once is a password manager that offers a very unique and convenient feature: compatibility across Windows, Mac and Android operating systems. A few of the service's other features include:
- Unlimited secure password sharing
- Password inheritance
- Ability to track stolen devices (that have the app installed)
- Two-step authentication
Logme Once offers three different password management packages: free, $1 per month and $3.25 per month -- higher price means more included features.
Important notes about using a password manager
The fear with these sites is that crooks would only have to crack one website to get the keys to the kingdom. But using one of these sites is still a smart idea and good way to protect all of your online accounts.
Remember, with brokerage and mutual fund accounts, the law is silent on any protections for you if you're hit by a hacker. It's up to the individual company's corporate policy to determine if they give you your money back or not. And with all of your financial accounts, make sure to use a unique and hard-to-crack password for each different account. The same goes for any account that has your sensitive, personal information (credit card/bank account, Social Security number, address etc.).
And lastly, if you're a business owner, you may be subject to a loss of funds in an online account breach, even if it's not your fault. Using a password manager site can show you took "due care" under the Uniform Commercial Code and possibly afford you some additional protections.