How to keep your many unique, strong passwords safe using tools like a password manager

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Are you suffering from password overload? Having dozens of passwords can be a headache to remember, but they protect our personal information.

"It is really overwhelming!" Wala Naghrapi said.

So how do people keep track of all of those different passwords?

"I'm a little bit more old fashioned, I would just write them down," said Lilly Smith. But tech security experts advise against that.

"Every time you travel or need access to the accounts you don't have access to your passwords," said Daniel Clayton, VP of security services for Bitdefender.

And if you if manage passwords on paper, they need to be in a secure spot.

"If someone robs your home and are able to get into the safe, they have all of those passwords," Clayton explained.

Is your smartphone's 'notes' feature a safer option?

"If you want to be really, really secure I'd advise against it, but it would be better for you to have unique passwords and long strong passwords and record them somewhere that had security patrols," Clayton said.

If you save your passwords in your cloud 'notes', make sure your cloud password is strong and that 2-factor authentication is enabled. Also remember to use a password, fingerprint or face ID on your phone in case it's lost or stolen.

Colin Richards said he goes a step further when using his phone's notes.

"In the note I put a hint for the password that only I understand," he said.

There are also password managers like Last Pass, which store and remember passwords for you.

"I would probably use that feature it sounds handy," said Shannon Lynott.

BitWarden also has a free option, and creates a "mega" password for each account and then stores them.

"It helps you make your use of passwords in the online world secure. It does that by helping you create unique passwords that are complex for every website you visit," said Michael Crandell of BitWarden.

There are also now options on your smartphones, built in, which prompt you to create and save unique, super long, passwords for apps and websites. However, they may not transfer to all brands of devices. Apps like BitWarden do travel to other devices.

"I's a very high level of encryption and encryption means that we turn your password data into something unrecognizable when it's stored at Bitwarden," Crandell said.
"One of my concerns with password managers is that it becomes a very attractive target, if they can compromise a password manager, they then potential have access to thousands of credentials," Clayton added.

However, experts say the benefits of a password manager outweigh the risks.

"The integrity of your master password is critical to the integrity of the password manager," advised Clayton.

If you're creating your own passwords and remembering them you should make sure they are strong with special characters in them. Examples of creating a strong passwords would be combining three words into one or using a full sentence then adding special characters.
Copyright © 2021 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.