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Passwords are the key to your digital life. Until someone comes up with a better solution Why Usernames & Passwords Are A Thing Of The Past, And How To Cope With This Why Usernames & Passwords Are A Thing Of The Past, And How To Cope With This With every other hacked database and credit card scandal that occurs, it becomes more evident that we can't rely on passwords for much longer. But if not passwords, what else is there? Read More , a username/password combo is all that’s keeping someone malicious out of your email, banking, and Facebook accounts. Thus, you need secure passwords to protect your information, and the best way to do that is with a password manager You Need to Start Using a Password Manager Right Now You Need to Start Using a Password Manager Right Now By now, everyone should be using a password manager. In fact, not using a password manager put you at greater risk of being hacked! Read More .

It’s hard to come up with good passwords 6 Tips For Creating An Unbreakable Password That You Can Remember 6 Tips For Creating An Unbreakable Password That You Can Remember If your passwords are not unique and unbreakable, you might as well open the front door and invite the robbers in for lunch. Read More , and even tougher to remember all of them. Password managers solve this problem by saving your passwords for you and keeping them protected How Password Managers Keep Your Passwords Safe How Password Managers Keep Your Passwords Safe Passwords that are hard to crack are also hard to remember. Want to be safe? You need a password manager. Here's how they work and how they keep you safe. Read More until you decrypt them. Beyond that basic functionality, let’s look at further features of password managers to give you even greater security.

1. Generating Secure Passwords

Did you know that your password manager isn’t helping you much if it’s storing poor passwords? Just because your “browndog1” password is in LastPass doesn’t make it any stronger! Once you’re using a manager, it’s important to let it generate random passwords for you.

To get set up with a secure password, visit your account settings on any website and follow the Change password instructions. Instead of coming up with something yourself How to Generate Strong Passwords That Match Your Personality How to Generate Strong Passwords That Match Your Personality Without a strong password you could quickly find yourself on the receiving end of a cyber-crime. One way to create a memorable password could be to match it to your personality. Read More , let your password manager do the work. Using its tools, you can choose how many characters your new password will have, how complex it will be, and similar options. The great part is that since you don’t have to remember this password, you can go crazy with it.

A 40-character password full of numbers and symbols is ultra-safe and no sweat for the manager to remember. Of course, many websites have restrictions on how long your passwords can be, so you might have to adjust them slightly. Use a password as long and complex as the site allows and you’re all set.

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This doesn’t just apply to existing sites, either. Whenever you create an account on a new page, you don’t have to make the password. Let your manager create it for you just like the above and add it to your secure bank.

2. Importing Wi-Fi Credentials and Other Passwords

Whenever you connect to a Wi-Fi network, your computer saves the password so you can easily connect to it later. LastPass allows you to import all Wi-Fi network passwords you’ve saved as secure notes. This makes sure you don’t lose these if you have to reset your computer, and is obviously safer than keeping them in a text file or sticky note.

7 Clever Password Manager Superpowers You Have to Start Using LastPass Import Tool

Install the full LastPass installer for your operating system, then visit More Options > Advanced > Import to grab all the Wi-Fi networks on your machine. As a bonus, you can also use these import options (often found under Tools > Advanced > Import) to grab passwords from your browser’s password keeper Why You Should Use Browsers for Browsing, Not Saving Information Why You Should Use Browsers for Browsing, Not Saving Information Read More , another password manager, or a CSV file of your own.

3. Keeping Credit Cards and Other Sensitive Data

Password managers aren’t just for saving website passwords. You can save all sorts of information in secure notes, with special fields for many types of data. For instance, LastPass lets you save bank accounts, credit cards, driver’s licenses, membership cards, software licenses, and more. If none of those match what you need, you can store a generic note with anything you like.

Of course, everywhere you record these sensitive types of information makes them more vulnerable. Because password managers encrypt your data, everything you enter here is safe from attack unless someone were to figure out your password. Memorizing your social security number only takes a few minutes Memorize Anything Using Active Recall Memory Memorize Anything Using Active Recall Memory Your memory sucks, but it's nothing you can't improve. Whether you're trying to learn a language, geography or even basic programming skills, active recall learning lets you commit details to memory. Read More and is probably a better idea than storing it. However, keeping any of this info in a password manager is far safer than recording it as a note on your phone.

If you’re interested in a password manager that masks your credit card number for additional security, Blur is the app for you Blur Can Hide Your Credit Cards, Emails, And More Blur Can Hide Your Credit Cards, Emails, And More There's an inherent insecurity in giving your email, credit card number, and phone number to any website where you want to buy something. Thankfully, there's an app that can remedy this called Blur. Read More .

4. Auditing Your Passwords

There are plenty of tools that let you test the strength of your passwords Test Your Password Strength with the Same Tool Hackers Use Test Your Password Strength with the Same Tool Hackers Use Is your password secure? Tools that assess your password strength have poor accuracy, meaning that the only way to really test your passwords is to try to break them. Let's look at how. Read More . While these can’t account for breaches or giving a password away via phishing, they do let you see how long it would take a computer to crack your password.

Most password managers have a feature that rates your password security and gives you an overall score. You can quickly see which passwords are weak, duplicates, or old. Of course, your score might suffer a bit because of restrictions that websites place on your passwords, but it’s still a great way to boost your security. If any passwords aren’t up to par, just visit your account and let your manager create a new password for you.

Your password manager’s auditing function should also include a breach notification that lets you know if your email address was involved in major breaches. Usually these massive hacks — like the Dropbox one in 2016 Are You One of 69 Million Hacked Dropbox Users? Are You One of 69 Million Hacked Dropbox Users? It has been confirmed that 68 million Dropbox accounts were hacked in August 2012. Was yours one of them? What should you do about it? And why did the hack take FOUR YEARS to come... Read More — publish a huge list of affected emails, which your manager can check against yours. It’s always a good idea to change your password when these attacks happen, but you can know if your credentials were stolen with this feature.

5. Fingerprint Login and Auto-Filling on Mobile

One of the big pains to get used to once you start using a password manager is juggling passwords on mobile The Best Password Managers for Android Compared The Best Password Managers for Android Compared Passwords are hard to remember, and it's insecure to only have a few passwords memorized. Let these apps keep your passwords strong and secure! Read More . Typing your long master password to log into your manager app is annoying on a phone keyboard. And once you’ve logged in, you have to copy and paste your password to log into mobile apps. There’s a better way: most password managers let you use your phone’s fingerprint scanner to log in, and let you instantly fill passwords into apps.

Check your mobile manager app for an option to use Google or Samsung’s fingerprint utilities on Android or TouchID on iOS to log in. This is much faster than typing your master password and still secure. Once that’s done, look for the option to enable automatic mobile fill-in. For instance, LastPass on Android requires accessibility access Accessibility on Android: Make Your Device Easier to Use Accessibility on Android: Make Your Device Easier to Use Android includes features to make sure that everyone can enjoy their phone. Even if you aren't disabled, the Accessibility menu holds some neat tricks to look into. Read More to create a little bubble when you’re logging into an app. Simply scan your fingerprint and tap the site name to instantly fill it. No copy/pasting required!

6. Secure Password Sharing

You might not always share passwords with others How to Safely Share Passwords With Friends and Family How to Safely Share Passwords With Friends and Family You should never share your passwords. But you do, don't you? That's why we're going to show you how to share your passwords while keeping your accounts as secure as possible. Read More , but when you do it’s important to go about it in a secure manner. Whether you want to give your significant other access to your cloud storage or video streaming account or need to have someone log into your account on short notice, your password manager can make it happen.

Right-click any of your information and you can share it with whomever you’d like. They’ll have to install the manager you’re using for free, and it’s far safer than sending the password over email or text message.

Sharing via a password manager brings further benefits. If you only want someone to access that password for a limited time, you can revoke their access whenever you need. Also, you can create a random password to share with them and quickly change it later so they don’t retain access.

We’ve covered other ways to share online accounts without passwords How to Share Online Accounts Without Giving Up Your Passwords How to Share Online Accounts Without Giving Up Your Passwords Account sharing is a huge security risk -- anyone could take over your account at any time. If you still want to share your accounts, this site lets you do it in a more secure... Read More , too.

7. Give Emergency Access to Loved Ones

Sharing passwords is great for short-term use, but what about if you were to lose access to your account? Most password managers offer emergency access that lets you specify people you trust and give them access to your account if something were to happen to you This One Simple Trick Will Share Your Online Account Access After Death This One Simple Trick Will Share Your Online Account Access After Death All of a sudden you're dead and your family has no way of accessing your digital documents. How would you prevent this disaster from taking place? Read More . After they’re added, they can request access to your account, and you choose an amount of time that has to pass before that happens.

This way, you can deny their access request before however many days you’ve specified. But if you were to pass away, lose your memory, or some other tragedy occurred, your loved ones would have a way to manage your digital life. Your data remains inaccessible by your manager, so it’s a secure measure as well.

What Password Manager Features Do You Count On?

If you weren’t convinced that using a password manager is a great choice, these seven superpowers should show you that it’s essential. Most managers offer a suite of these features for free. With just a bit of setup work, you’ll never have to worry about coming up with a secure password, storing information safely, or giving passwords to family again. If everyone used a password manager, we’d see far fewer accounts hacked online.

Now that you know the power of password managers, make sure you aren’t making costly mistakes Are You Making These 6 Password Manager Security Mistakes? Are You Making These 6 Password Manager Security Mistakes? Password managers can only be as secure as you want them to be, and if you're making any of these six basic mistakes, you're going to end up compromising your online security. Read More with them.

Which password manager is your favorite, and what features do you love about it? Give your thoughts below in the comments!

Image Credits: Malchev/Shutterstock

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  1. Mike
    March 8, 2017 at 8:47 pm

    I have read a couple of your articles on bypassing blocks on the internet etc. and I am curious why you haven't included things like Tor and alternate download technologies as methods to bypass blocks.

  2. Bob
    March 5, 2017 at 4:22 am

    KeePass is the best password manager.

  3. Rudy
    March 3, 2017 at 11:29 am

    Been using Lastpass for about 5 years now and wouldn't know how to function without it. I normally use 10-12 digits & characters and save my credit card info as well as secure notes. You can access it on any platform, Android, Windows, Linux, Apple, etc.

  4. Chandan Kumar
    March 3, 2017 at 6:46 am

    Frequently using FingerPrint, there is chances you can forget MasterPassword, I prefer typing MasterPassword over unlocking using Fingerprint, recalling master password always for better memory.

  5. Zhong
    March 1, 2017 at 8:03 pm

    I noticed Password manager also use YUB key which is a neat factor in proving an extra layer of security. Will you write an article about it?