PC Doctor February 2, 2019

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Dear PC Doctor:

I recently saw a commercial for an app or program that manages your passwords. It creates them, remembers them, and autofills them, along with my personal information (if I want it to). It says the information is stored on my device. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the name of the product. It sounds like a good idea! It also sounds like I could potentially be giving a company access to all my personal, confidential, important information! How do I tell the good ones from the bad?



Dear Phil:

Great questions! Many people struggle with remembering passwords. Everything we do these days requires a password – and you need to create a strong one that would be hard to guess, and use different passwords for your various accounts so that, if one password is compromised, you don’t end up with all of your accounts vulnerable. A password service could be a great time (and stress) saver!

Password managers can help you create strong passwords as well as store them. Now, how to sort through the many, many password services and evaluate which ones will do right by you? Some password managers are free, some require payment. Some record your log in credentials as you create a new account, some you have to actively fill in your data. Most will let you know which of your passwords are strong and which are weak. Most include a random password generator to help you improve your password strength. Most also offer that autofill feature you mentioned in your question. Most password managers use multifactor authentication, with access to your account only possible when you give your correct master password and an authentication code that lives only on a device that you own.

PC Magazine, Lifehacker, CNET, Tom’s Guide, and other sites have all very recently reviewed password services. I would encourage anyone interested in using a password manger service to read these reviews and see what you think!

Until next time,
Happy computing!

PC Doctor

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