Secure Travel Tip: Using a Password Manager

April 28, 2015 |

Why travelers should use a password managerTravelers have a lot to worry about and deal with, not the least of which is trying to remember all of the passwords to various online services, airline, hotel, car rental program memberships, banking and credit card sites and more. In this day and age, using simple, memorable passwords isn’t good enough and using the same password for everything or keeping all of your passwords on paper is an identity theft disaster waiting to happen. In addition, your company likely has privacy and security policies in place which govern the password creation and handling for your work-related logins. Memorizing complex passwords sounds good – but there are just too many. What’s the solution? Try a password manager.

A password manager is a secure application that allows you to create, store and manage your passwords across all of your devices and services. They differ, but in general, most offer the following features:

  • Helps you create secure, strong passwords
  • Stores those passwords and allow you to automatically fill them in when you access websites and services
  • Requires you to remember just one secure password – the one that gets you into the password manager
  • Provides online, desktop and mobile access
  • Gives you a grade on your existing password quality and alerts you when they’re not secure
  • Allows you to set the length and make-up of automatically generated passwords according to your company’s password policies
  • Protects your passwords with AES 256-bit encryption, with the decryption key stored only on your device so that your data is only accessible to you

There are a number of great password managers on the market including LastPass, 1Password and Dashlane. Here’s a list of many other alternatives. Most offer mobile apps and are connected to the security on your phone or tablet, which makes them extra convenient. For example, I am a Dashlane user and can go to a website. From there I simply access the Dashlane extension in my mobile Safari browser. With just a touch of my thumbprint to the touch ID button on my iPhone, I am instantly logged into the website using the secure password that Dashlane helped me generate. On your PC or Mac it’s even easier. Every major browser has an extension available that will recognize when you’ve gone to a website in which you have an account – i.e. LinkedIn, Gmail, Capital One, etc. – and will instantly populate your username and password and log you in.

For travelers, the secure password features mean that you can quickly and easily disable access to your passwords should your mobile phone or laptop be stolen (make sure your device has those security features enabled in the first place to help ensure security). Dashlane recently implemented a new feature that will allow you to automatically change the passwords for most of the major online services with just a couple of clicks. This is a great feature to help you quickly and simply change passwords when necessary.

You have enough to worry about when traveling. Get secure and take the hassle out of passwords with a great password manager! Whichever application you choose, I recommend paying the small fee for the premium version. Although features vary among each app, this allows you to securely sync your passwords across all of your devices – passwords created on your phone will synchronize with your PC, etc. The small up-front expense will pay off in a big way when you no longer have to struggle with remembering that new password.

Still unsure? Don’t take my word for it. How-To-Geek has a great article that examines in-depth why you should be using a password manager and how you should get started.

Do you use a password manager? What do you like about it? Which one do you prefer? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @TandTNews.