There are now so many websites and programs that require the use of passwords that it can be hard to remember them all. The demand of different service vary greatly, with some requiring that passwords are of a minimum length, while other must contain upper and lower case letters or include numbers and symbols.
One solution, and one that is employed by too many users, is to simply use one password for a range of sites and programs.
This is a major security risk because it means that should a third party compromise one of your passwords, they also have access to your other password-protected accounts - and this is a serious threat to data.
The solution lies in a password manager that stores all of your passwords in one single secure database that's password protected. Meanwhile, autofill features mean usernames and passwords can be automatically entered into website and ensures they don't have to be typed.
You can skip past all this confusion and potential security holes by using a password manager. Here's our pick of the very best.
This easy to use software is a mini-miracle and is widely regarded as one of the best password managers in the business. It builds on the (relatively) simple idea of auto generating complicated passwords for you by putting them into a fresh looking database. All you need remember is one master password (keep it secret, keep it safe).
The online portal is easy to navigate, with good search tools, a shared password facility and a handy emergency contact section that allows you to grant access to trusted friends or family under certain circumstances (if your laptop is stolen, for example).
The basic package is free, but for other advanced features it costs just $1 per month, billed annually.
Dashlane is another world-beater. It has all consuming - but totally secure - reach across your sites and devices. It generates auto logins, strong passwords and constantly monitors your accounts to inform you of suspicious activity or when you should change your passwords.
It also has a digital wallet feature that can securely store your different payment methods, offering quick checkout and decent form filling when it comes to a spot of online shopping. The premium version is the one to plump for if you want it working across devices, and starts at $39.99 for the year - not a lot to pay for total password security.
Don’t let the baffling mascot Mr Manatee fool you, Sticky Password is excellent password manager software. It boasts a high level encryption standard (AES-256, in case you were wondering).
It has biometric compatibility, so if you use your fingerprint to unlock your smartphone you can easily verify your identity. The free version is very good, but the premium version gets you cloud backup, local Wi-Fi syncing across devices and quicker access to customer services. Oh, and a donation to saving manatees. Not so baffling anymore!
One of the longest running password managers, RoboForm has an excellent reputation for no nonsense password security. It was one of the first mainstream solutions to the password problem that effortlessly slid onto computers and saved people time every day. Which is exactly what it still does today.
It works across PC, Max, phone, tablet and even via USB drives. It’s pleasing that it doesn’t push its paid version very hard, but if you want to sync across devices, it’s $19.95 for a year, which is very good value. You can save if you buy for 3 or 5 years too.
Designed for individuals from free but also as a business solution, Keeper from Keeper Security is an excellent, adaptable password manager.
The software generates strong passwords for you and stores them on your device, while managing auto-fill and logins across platforms and on all your other devices too.
It also has a clever file share function that lets consumers and businesses alike confidently cloud store files and access them as and when.
Consumers can also use the fingerprint scanner on their phones to log into individually assigned apps or websites, giving them peace of mind.
Businesses can quickly get a quote from Keeper to see how much a year's subscription would be.