It is strongly recommended to use a new, strong, password for every website or service you sign up for. However, strong passwords become hard to remember, especially when you may need to sign up for hundreds of different websites. Storing your passwords in a text file may sound appealing, but this leaves a single access point to all of your passwords and may leave you vulnerable to attacks.

A password manager solves both problems by generating strong passwords for you and storing these passwords in an encrypted list. This means you can access all your passwords without fear of unwanted users viewing them. Copy/paste and auto-fill functions also mean you will not have to remember any of the passwords generated for you. Password managers allow passwords to be synced between devices to be accessible by you anywhere.

The encrypted list is unlocked by a master password. Since this master password protects all other passwords, it needs to be particularly strong. If you lose your master password, your entire collection of passwords will be inaccessible.

Popular options for password managers include:

  • Bitwarden is an open-source password manager that has been rising in popularity. A premium option is available, however, a free account has access to unlimited passwords on unlimited devices
  • Keepass is a completely free and open-source password manager
  • LastPass is still a strong choice for a password manager but requires a premium plan to use on more than one device
  • DashLane offers some convenient options such as automatic password changers, but requires a premium subscription to use

Transitioning to a password manager can seem daunting if you already have many accounts created across the internet. Start by adding a few of your most used accounts and adding any new accounts you create. You will eventually find it more convenient to go into your password manager, at which point you can look into changing the passwords of older accounts you have lying around.

Contact AskOtago if you have any questions about using a password manager:

Freephone 0800 80 80 98 (within New Zealand)
Tel +64 3 479 7000
Email askotago.it@otago.ac.nz

Further information

Creating strong passwords

Last updated 05/05/2022 09.18 AM

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