I woke up to a couple emails/texts this morning. Two separate email accounts of mine we were accessed overseas. Now, hearing about the all the Gmail passwords that leaked last week, I was a tiny bit worried. It looks like they did have my password - but because I had my 2-step verification enabled, access was denied.
What is 2-step verification? It's an extra layer of security. Before you can login to your email, a special code is sent to a secondary email or your phone. asking for confirmation that it's indeed you going into your account. Once you get that code, you input it and away you go. If you value your money and identity, I'd suggest you use a feature like this.
Now what is a password manager, and where does it fit into all of this? A password manager is an application or web based software that keeps track of all your passwords. All your credentials are saved either locally or on their server side. For the particular one I use, Dashlane, my credentials are stored and synced between all my devices. I love this software because it also makes my life a lot easier. Instead of having 20 different unique, long passwords for all my account, Dashlane makes it so ALL your accounts can be unlocked with one mast password.
So, lets say I have 3 Gmail accounts. And I have 20 character letter/number/symbol password for each account. When you log into your computer and visit Gmail, it will auto-fill your username and password. HOWEVER, you can't get into your email without using you Dashlane master password. That's where they extra layer of security comes in. In addition, Dashlane will not work until you log into the application when you power on your computer.
So this allows you to have long, complex and unique passwords for all of your accounts, but doesn't require you to have to remember them all. As long as you have one master password, your are all set. Dashlane also offers other features like sync, password generators, password analyzer, etc. etc. They will also let you know when one of your accounts reports a security breach so you can quickly change your passwords. Just keep in mind that if you ever lose your master password, your account is gone forever. There is no password reset via email or phone. They also use 256-bit encryption for their sync-API and cloud storage, so no worries there.
One of my favorite features is being able to store your personal and payment information. So when you order things from a website you don't have your credit/debit card stored in, with a click of a button and master password, you can enter your debit info, shipping and billing address REAL quick. Makes life so much easier.
Obviously, no service can keep you 100% protected all the time, but why not give yourself some cushion?
In my opinion, in this day and age, everyone in the world should be using a manager - period. Even my dad is using this! Please let me know if you have any questions.
P.S - Another password manager app to consider is LastPass. They even go as far as making you print out a random crypto-key every month that you must carry with you at all times in order to get access to your account. Pretty crazy stuff!