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Media > Newsletters > Consumer Advocate > June 2019 > Password Managers Can Help Keep Online Accounts Safe

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Password Managers Can Help Keep Online Accounts Safe

Many consumers get frustrated over constantly needing to come up with long, complex passwords for each of their online accounts. What has been a difficult process is made much easier through the use of a reputable password manager. In a nutshell, password managers require you to come up with one complex “master password.” Then, the manager helps you log in to your various accounts using passwords the program can help you create and that you don’t need to remember.

A password manager stores your login and password information for all the websites you use and helps you log into those websites automatically. The type of password manager that you use depends on personal preference and whether you want to pay for certain services or features.

The first step is to research your options and find which password manager works best for you. You can visit the popular app stores or consumer technology websites to find a variety of options. Read consumers’ opinions online, ask friends and family for recommendations, and read reviews in technology magazines to explore your options.

While some password managers may require a fee-based subscription – especially to access advanced features – most of these services offer free trials to help you get started. There are password managers that offer optional family plans so you can have multiple users sharing the benefits. Also, some password managers can sync across multiple gadgets and work with mobile devices so you can hit the road with the benefits of the password manager.  

So, what are the chances that a hacker will guess your master password or gain access to everyone’s master password if there is a data breach? There is always some risk, but the good news is that some password managers encrypt your password information. While some password managers store your “vault” of passwords in the cloud (through the company’s servers), other password managers can store your information locally (on your device itself). Keep in mind that two benefits of cloud storage are 1) if your computer crashes, your passwords will survive; and 2) you can easily sync among multiple devices. 

Also, some password managers use “two-factor authentication.” Two-factor authentication is a security process in which the consumer provides two different authentication factors to verify themselves. Two-factor authentication methods rely on you to provide a password as well as a second factor, usually an email or text message verification code. This will better secure your passwords through the password manager program.

With some password managers, you must remember your master password. Forgetting the master password means you might have to reset all your accounts’ passwords individually. Some password managers can give you a password hint or a method to reset the master password. In any event, some experts recommend writing down your master password and keeping it in a safe location.
Consumers who suspect a scam or an unfair business practice should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at or 800-282-0515.