Safely remembering and storing passwords
Published 6 December 2021
Need help remembering all your online passwords? Get a password manager.
What is a password manager?
A password manager is an app on your phone, tablet or computer that stores your passwords securely, so you don’t need to remember them all. Some password managers can synchronise your passwords across your different devices, making it easier to log on, wherever you are. Some can also create random, unique passwords for you, when you need to create or change a password
Why would I want a password manager?
Reusing the same password across different accounts can have a bad outcome. If a cyber criminal were able to steal one of your passwords, and it had been reused elsewhere, they could quickly break into several of your accounts despite only knowing one password.
We know that we're supposed to create a unique, hard-to-guess password for all our online accounts, to prevent such a scenario happening. this is almost impossible to do without help. Password managers provide that help. They make using and generating passwords easier and more secure. Many can even automatically enter the right password into websites and apps for you.
What types of password manager are available?
You may be using a password manager without knowing it. Many are built into your internet browser (such as Google Chrome, or Microsoft Edge, or are part of the operating system on your smartphone or tablet. You may have noticed when you sign into an account, a box appears asking you if you want to remember your password. If you are not sharing the device with anyone else, then it is safe to tick the box. If it doesn't offer to save your password, you may need to turn this option on in your device settings.
Out preferred option is a standalone password manager application, many of which can be installed on different devices, with extra features like the ability to create good passwords for you. It's worth finding online reviews of the password managers you're considering and deciding on the features you need. 1Password, Lastpass and Dashlane are great examples.
How do I protect my password manager?
Whichever password manager you use, it is important to keep the password manager account secure because if a criminal accesses this, they'll potentially have access to all your passwords and associated accounts. You also need to take steps to make sure you can always get in yourself, so you don't lose access to all your passwords. So:
Use two-factor/multifactor authentication.
Install updates as soon as you are prompted to.
Choose a strong password, using the 'three random words' principle.