2-Minute Money Manager: What’s the Best Way to Protect My Passwords and Stay Safe Online?

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Welcome to your “2-Minute Money Manager,” a short video feature answering money questions submitted by readers and viewers.

Today’s question is about the best way to protect your passwords; specifically, using password managers to pick strong passwords, then remember them.

Watch the following video, and you’ll pick up some valuable info. Or, if you prefer, scroll down to read the full transcript and find out what I said. You also can learn how to send in a question of your own below.

For more information on this topic, check out “The Key to Remembering Passwords? A Password Manager” and “3 Ways to Secure Free Antivirus Software for Your Computer.” You can also go to the search at the top of this page, put in the words “password” or “online safety” and find plenty of information on just about everything relating to this topic.

Also, remember that if you need anything from a better credit card to help with debt, you’ll find it in our Solutions Center.

Got a question of your own to ask? Scroll down past the transcript.

Don’t want to watch? Here’s what I said in the video

Hello, and welcome to your “2-Minute Money Manager.” I’m your host, Stacy Johnson, and this answer is brought to you by the Microsoft Edge web browser. It’s the faster, safer way to get things done on the web. You should use it — I do.

Let’s get to our question. It comes from Briggs:

“Looking for a secure app for passwords. Any feedback for me to consider?”

I’m glad this question came up because so many people aren’t doing simple things to protect their information. It’s like leaving your front door unlocked and going on vacation. Don’t leave your digital door unlocked. Protect yourself.

I use two different password managers: 1Password and LastPass.

Here’s how they work: Password managers create super-hard-to-crack passwords for every site you use, then remember them all. All you have to do is remember one.

One of the best ways you can stay safe on the web is to have a different — and difficult to hack — password for every site. Password managers generate complex passwords, like a long, random string of characters. These are the kind of passwords you wouldn’t think of and couldn’t remember if you did. But you won’t have to remember them. The password manager will. All you have to do is remember the password that opens the manager.

Why doesn’t everyone use a password manager? I have no idea. Everyone should know by now that using the same password for every site, or using guessable passwords, is asking for trouble. And yet, a lot of us continue to do this. It’s crazy, and it’s not necessary.

As I said, I use 1Password and LastPass, but there are others. I’m not getting paid to recommend these two, I’m just telling you what I happen to use. Do an online search, and you’ll find more. I use “pro” versions, so I have to pay for them, but some managers have free consumer versions. So cost shouldn’t be a consideration.

Bottom line? If you’re not using a password manager, start. Read about them, take a look at a couple, then sign up.

Here’s something else that I do and you should consider: Use two-step verification. That means whenever I’m logging in to a site that’s particularly sensitive — like a bank website — I receive a text on my cellphone with a code. In order to complete the login, I have to use the code in addition to the password. That gives me an extra layer of protection, since in order to hack my account, you’d need both my password and my phone.

Of course, nothing is unbeatable. Anything can potentially be hacked. But by and large, I think if you use a password manager, and you use two-step verification, you’re going to stay safe online.

I hope that answered your question, Briggs. Make it a super-profitable day, and meet me right here next time!

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The questions I’m likeliest to answer are those that will interest other readers. In other words, don’t ask for super-specific advice that applies only to you. And if I don’t get to your question, promise not to hate me. I do my best, but I get a lot more questions than I have time to answer.

About me

I founded Money Talks News in 1991. I’m a CPA, and have also earned licenses in stocks, commodities, options principal, mutual funds, life insurance, securities supervisor and real estate.

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