Avast Academy Security Passwords How to Choose the Best Password Manager

How to Choose the Best Password Manager

A password manager is an essential digital security tool, safeguarding access to your sensitive accounts, data, and resources. Discover the essential features that set the best password managers apart. Then, protect your passwords and other data against leaks with specialized data breach security software.

Written by Ivan Belcic
Published on February 28, 2022

Why should you use a password manager?

Using a password manager lets you create strong passwords without having to worry about remembering all of them. And the best password managers easily keep track of all the different passwords you use and help assess the strength of your existing passwords.

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    A good password manager will also let you know if your passwords are weak, used on multiple accounts, or have appeared in a data breach. Password managers can also help you create strong, unique passwords and make sure you’re following password best practices.

    If you use long and unique passwords for each of your accounts, a password manager will keep track of all of them, so you don’t need to worry about memorizing all of your passwords yourself. And you definitely don’t need to keep them written down — a password manager will handle all of that for you.

    The best password manager is more than just a password keeper — it’s a secure vault that stores the keys to your entire digital life while saving you the trouble of having to recover lost passwords, like any forgotten Windows passwords.

    A reliable password storage tool protects your login credentials, passwords, and in some cases, credit card numbers as well. It’s just as helpful when it comes to password protecting important files and folders on your devices.

    With a strong password manager, you can give every one of your accounts its own unique password while remembering just one on your own — the master password that unlocks your manager. Once you start using one, you’ll quickly realize that a free password manager is one of the most useful digital tools ever developed.

    What makes a password manager secure?

    Most password managers include standard security features such as weak password detection, password generators, and two-factor authentication. While those are essential, some password managers provide more robust security features that further enhance your protection. When comparing password managers, keep the following security features in mind:

    Multi-factor authentication

    Certain apps and sites — and all strong password managers — use either 2FA (two-factor authentication) or MFA (multi-factor authentication) to verify your identity. 2FA requires two sources of proof, such as a bank card and a PIN, while MFA uses two or more.

    These standards of proof are categorized as “something you know” (such as a password), “something you have” (such as a physical security key), and “something you are” (such as your fingerprint). Each login credential must come from a different category for 2FA and MFA to succeed.

    Strong password managers use two-factor authentication to verify your identity.Strong password managers use two-factor authentication to verify your identity.

    Secure password generator

    Make sure your password manager comes with a secure password generator. We all need to create long, complex passwords. The most secure passwords will ward off password-cracking techniques, and your passwords should be unique for each account you have.

    Rather than agonizing over coming up with something suitable every time, the best password managers will instantly generate an incredibly complex password for you. Check out our own free random password generator to see how easy it can be to get a password that will stump any hacker.

    A random password generator will automatically create incredibly strong passwords for you.Avast’s Random Password Generator will automatically create incredibly strong passwords for you.

    Secure syncing

    We all use multiple devices — laptops, desktops, tablets, and phones — so it’s important to choose a password manager with secure syncing across all your devices. That way, if you lock any passwords on one device, they’ll be frozen on everything else you own as well.

    Inconsistent or nonexistent sync will negatively impact the usability and effectiveness of your password manager. Some password managers let you sync passwords across your devices for free, while others lock this feature behind a premium subscription.

    Automated breach alerts

    Even the strongest passwords can get captured and leaked on the dark web or black market after a data breach. A free hack check tool will show you if any of your passwords have been compromised or stolen.

    A hack check tool is an online resource that lets you know if any of your accounts have been compromised.Avast Hack Check is a free online resource that lets you know if any of your accounts have been compromised.

    For more thorough protection that’s always on, use dedicated data break monitoring software. Avast BreachGuard is continually updated via our global breach database, and it will inform you if and when any of your accounts are compromised. Then, you can update your login credentials before hackers get the opportunity to try and use your stolen data.

    Additional features in the best password managers

    Plenty of password managers feature password autofill, saving you the trouble of manually entering your passwords each time you log in. Many also include a browser menu that contains all your logins for added convenience.

    Along with these basic usability features, there’s a range of additional features that vary by brand. Be sure to choose a password manager with a feature suite that best fits your needs.

    Browser extensions

    Browser extensions are software that modify your internet browser with additional features. A password manager’s browser extension should simplify your login process while enhancing your online security. It’s also simple to add and remove extensions from Chrome and other browsers.

    Don't store your passwords directly in your browser’s built-in password keeper. It’s far less secure than a proper password manager, which requires your master password for access. Passwords saved in your browser are accessible to anyone using your device.

    App password management

    So many of us access accounts through corresponding apps on our mobile devices. Despite this trend, many password managers are still designed as website-only services. Some premium password managers — and even a few free ones — work with other apps on your device as well as websites.

    Digital wallet

    Not to be confused with crypto wallets, which exclusively handle cryptocurrencies, digital wallets securely store your credit card numbers and other financial details to streamline digital purchases. Many password managers contain digital wallets that enable quick and easy checkouts from online marketplaces.

    Emergency third-party access

    Some password managers let you designate emergency contacts so that selected family members, colleagues, or friends can access your important accounts if you ever need them to. You’ll sometimes also find password managers offering family plans, which share access with designated users for pre-selected accounts. This may be a helpful feature in an emergency.

    Single-platform or multi-platform solution?

    What if you have a Windows computer and an iPhone, and you want to protect your accounts on both? You’ll need to select a password manager offering password sync functionality across platforms and devices, including mobile apps.

    Some password managers require you to upgrade to their premium service to enable multi-platform syncing. Some may be specific to your operating system or device: Android but not iOS, laptop but not mobile. Others accommodate all platforms and device types. Make sure your password manager will work with everything you use.

    Your most sensitive info deserves to be stored in a way that’s both secure and convenient, which only a leading password manager can provide. With the above tips, you’ll be well-equipped to choose a password manager that perfectly meets your needs.

    Protect your passwords and secure your accounts

    Developed and supported by one of the largest cybersecurity networks in the world, Avast BreachGuard is a robust, highly secure password security tool. BreachGuard monitors the dark web 24/7 for any traces of your personal data, including leaked passwords. If your data is found, BreachGuard will alert you ASAP and help you secure your accounts before anyone can use your leaked data against you.

    Get comprehensive data and security protection with Avast One

    Free install

    Get comprehensive data and security protection with Avast One

    Free install
    Ivan Belcic