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Consumer Reports: Why you need a password manager

Posted at 7:20 AM, Apr 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-24 10:20:01-04

TUCSON, Ariz. - Remembering all your passwords is tough. But making sure each one is unique and strong enough to keep hackers out of your online accounts is even tougher. That’s why Consumer Reports tests and rates password managers- apps and online services that do all the heavy lifting for you.

CR says security means how resistant the product is to hacking attempts. Privacy is how much data the password manager collects, what it’s used for and who it’s shared with. And usability includes how flexible the password manager is when it comes to sharing passwords between platforms and devices.

“With password managers, you only have to remember one password, your master password, for the password manager," says Bree Fowler, Consumer Reports.

That’s because they create, store and automatically fill in complex passwords for the dozens of sites and apps you may log into each day.

“And these kinds of products use encryption, which means your passwords are scrambled into a code that’s hard for hackers to crack," says Fowler.

So which one did the best in CR’s tests?

“Our experts say 1Password is the best option out there. It was the only password manager we tested to receive an overall Excellent rating in all three categories," says Fowler.

If you’re looking for a free alternative, Consumer Reports recommends Bitwarden. It scored “very good” across the board for data privacy, data security and usability.

And what about the password manager that’s part of your internet browser? Like Mozilla’s Firefox, Google’s Chrome or Apple’s Safari. Consumer Reports says although they don’t offer the capabilities that most password managers do, they can be a big help in wrangling all your various logins.