Are Password Management Services Worth It?

Are Password Manager Services Worth It?

We look at the pros and cons of password management services.

You created a password. Then, it was compromised so you created another. Requirements asked for a symbol so you created yet another. Now, as you stare at an account log-in screen and draw a blank, you ask yourself if there isn't a better way.

Consider using a password management service.

What is a Password Manager Service?

It's an app or software program that encrypts all of your passwords. In fact, you may already be using one - users of Apple iOS11 or later have a password manager; just sync passwords via your iCloud Keychain.

Pros of a Password Manager Service

Stricter password requirements make remembering passwords difficult; if not impossible (learn 6 secrets to what makes a good password). Using an encrypted service removes the added stress of remembering the varied and often complex phrases. And, when you're in a hurry, it allows you to quickly log in and accomplish your task - yes, you can score those concert seats because you seamlessly logged into your ticketing account and checked out before time ran out.

Cons of a Password Manager Service

The main concern on everyone's mind: Is a password manager secure? After all, if a hacker swoops in and steals the data, they have most of what they need to pose as you in your accounts. Two-factor authentication, a "master password" and a multitude of security firewalls are supposed to safeguard against this.

Consider also if you lose your "master password." Depending on the service, regaining entry can be a real challenge - after all, they are designed to thwart individuals attempting to gain access to your information. You often need to take a variety of steps to ensure it's you.

The best management services often aren't free: Charges range from a few bucks to annual subscription costs around $60. Decide whether the added security and ease is worth the extra cost.

Choosing a Password Manager Service

As a user, you must weigh whether your password habits (do you change them every 6 months? Are they long, complex and unrelated to your personal life?) against the technology of an app. If you decide to take the leap:

  • Review services: PCMag reviews the variety of programs and includes pricing for their favorites.
  • Consider changing your passwords: Most services can generate strong, random passwords for you to replace old, weaker ones. Are you still using your kid's birthday or 123456? Allow your app to randomize an assortment of numbers and letters - after all, you won't need to remember, or even enter, the code. The service does all the heavy lifting for you.

Find more information protecting yourself against fraud by visiting BECU.org.