In the current landscape, using an effective password manager is just as important for your security as installing a quality anti-virus suite, enabling two-step verification on your accounts, and making regular backups.
Most people consider LastPass to be the king of password managers — it’s packed with features and boasts more users than any of its competitors.
But it’s far from being the only option. In this article, I’m going to introduce you to some alternatives. For each suggestion, I’ll give you one core benefit that distinguishes it from its ubiquitous rival.
KeePassX is perhaps the most well-known of all the LastPass alternatives. It’s entirely free, it’s open-source, and all your data is saved locally rather than in the cloud.
The fact that it’s open source is important. If you’re so inclined, it means you can check the source code of the app and ensure all the encryption methods are implemented correctly and operating perfectly.
Of course, locally-saved data isn’t for everyone. If you regularly need to access your passwords on multiple computers and mobile devices, it’s a pain. You will need to move your password database around from device to device manually.
From a security standpoint, KeePassX uses the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) and the Twofish algorithm, and it relies on SHA-256 to hash your data. Interestingly, it doesn’t only encrypt your passwords — all the data fields within the app are also secured.
Core Benefit — Open source software app that saves data locally.
Dashlane is like LastPass in terms of functionality. Even the user interface is remarkably similar.
The app has five core features:
- Password Manager — Instantly save any password for any account.
- Form Autofill — If you do a lot of online shopping or regularly find yourself punching your address into online forms, the autofill feature will save you a lot of time.
- Digital Wallet — Not only will the digital wallet keep your payment details secure, but it also automatically captures the receipts of any online purchases you make.
- Password Generator — A password manager isn’t going to help if all your passwords are “hello123”. You need to create unique and complex strings for each individual account.
- Password Changer — The password changer can alter your weakest passwords without having to log into each account separately.
There’s also a premium version. It will set you back $39.99 per year but introduces syncing across multiple devices, account backup, two-step login authentication, and web access. It’s worth noting that lots of these features are available for free on LastPass and other services.
Dashlane comes into its own when accessing its security. It claims to have the strongest master password requirements in the industry, but more importantly, it also claims to have the best security architecture. The developers filed a security patent to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in March 2012,which was granted in February 2016. The developers go into great detail about all features on the Dashlane website.
Core Benefit — A customized and unique approach to data security and encryption.
3. In-Browser Password Manager
Most browsers have a password manager. Every time you enter a password, you will be asked whether you want the browser to remember it. These managers are convenient if you use the same browser on all your devices; all your logins will be automatically synced across all your devices without needing to install third-party apps.
The security of these managers varies widely from browser to browser. For example, the Firefox manager offers a master password option, whereas Chrome just automatically populates your credentials on sites.
Chrome does offer a “sync passphrase” so if someone has your master Google Account password, they still won’t have access to your logins. Nonetheless, the bottom line is none of the browser-based solutions offer the same level of security as a dedicated manager.
Core Benefit — Simplicity. No new accounts, no hassle of dealing with third-party apps.
aWallet is a password manager for Android and iOS. There is no web version and no desktop version.
There are two versions of the app: a local version and a cloud version. The local version has no internet access permissions and saves all your sensitive data on your mobile device. The new cloud version can sync your passwords, credit card details, and online banking credentials with either Dropbox or Google Drive so you can access them on several devices.
The app encrypts all data fields and relies on AES and Blowfish algorithms with key sizes of 256, 192, and 128 bits. As an extra level of security, the app will automatically delete your local password data file after a predefined number of unsuccessful login attempts.
Both the Android and the iOS version require a one-off payment of $3.99.
Core Benefit — Mobile-centric for users who spent a lot of time on the road.
Keeper offers all the usual features you expect, but there is one function which makes it a worthy addition to this list.
It’s the “Keeper Family Plan.” The developers understand that families share lots of digital things — whether it’s Netflix passwords, email logins, or Xbox accounts. The Family Plan is their attempt to offer a secure solution for sharing.
You can add five users, each of whom gets a private vault and 10 GB of secure file sharing space. You can bounce passwords bounced between vaults with nothing more than your fingerprint.
Best of all, the “legacy” feature lets you automatically share insurance forms, medical records, estate planning documents, tax documents, etc. with your next of kin if you pass away.
The individual plan is $29.99 per year. The family plan is $59.99 per year.
Core Benefit — The best service for large families who share lots of data.
Which Password Management App Do You Use?
I’ve introduced you to five password manager alternatives to LastPass, but there are many more out there. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses.
Obviously, I’d love to know which password manager app you rely on. Are you a fan of RoboForm or Sticky Password? Perhaps you like 1Password or Passpack?
What makes your app of choice so unique? Let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.