The best password protectors of 2022, per a cybersecurity expert
By Victoria Giardina
We’ve all been there. The stress-inducing race to insert every password combination we’ve conjured in the recent months, only to have to click “forgot my password.”
This common run-in happens with amateur tech users and savvy tech masters alike. But, by investing in password protector service, you won’t have to worry about remembering a single thing.
Sure, you may ask, Why can’t I just write it down in my notes app? It’s a fair question, but without a professional software platform to manage and organize not only passwords but your documents (like your resume) and sensitive codes, too, you may run into the risk of being hacked or worse — having your data wiped.
“These services often have secure, generated passwords they’ll create for you and secure in your vault,” David Bader, PhD, distinguished professor of data science at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) told the New York Post. “So, you won’t have to worry about staring at your keyboard wondering which letters you should capitalize or if you used enough exclamation points.”
It’s also important to note that nowadays, the most secure passwords are “long, randomly generated and use a combination of lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, and special characters that you have to click ‘shift’ and type to get,” Bader explains.
Though passwords require a benchmark to pass, it’s important to use different passwords for different sites. “It’s like having a different key for every lock,” Bader said. “It’s hard to remember all of your passwords and especially now that we need much stronger passwords — those that don’t reflect our names, children and cats and dogs — but seemingly random strings of numbers, letters and special characters; a password protector is a good service to use.”
Ahead, find the seven best password protectors of 2022 to download and benefit from for personal use.
1. Keeper Password Manager, $35 a year
This password keeper uses the key-strengthening PBKDF2 algorithm to help resist brute force attacks so that the user’s main password never leaves their device, along with a strong 256-bit AES encryption to protect the user’s passwords and data. “Keeper will also monitor the dark web looking for data breaches,” Bader adds.
Keeper is portable across all of the common operating systems as well (Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, and browsers), making it simple to use. Not to mention, it’s just $75 for a family of five. “Overall, Keeper consistently gets high marks and is used by millions of people and thousands of businesses,” he highlights.
2. 1Password Password Manager, $36 a year
“1Password is used by over 100,000 businesses including IBM, Slack, PGA Tour, PagerDuty, GitLab, Under Armour, Intercom and Shopify,” Bader shares. “Passwords are kept in a secure vault using industry-standard 256-bit AES encryption and PBKDF2 key strengthening [the same as Keeper to resist hacks].”
Plus, the user’s main password never leaves their device; PBKDF2 generates a new, strong 256-bit AES password to transmit each time to the vault. 1Password will also generate strong passwords for the user.
With more than 15 million users, Bader approves of this password protector that’s apt for business enterprises just as much as it is for individual use. For a family of five, it’s only $60 for the year.
3. Passware Recovery Tool, $49
“Passware, which has been around since 1998, is the leading software to assist users who forgot their password and forensic teams with password recovery – that is, opening encrypted files, with a claimed 70% success rate,” Bader explains.
Plus, the service is just a one-time payment of $49. Passware supports over 300 file types, and some of the main users include FBI, US Secret Service, Department of Justice, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, NASA, Deloitte, Europol, Israel’s Lahav 433, and the UK Metropolitan Police.
4. NordPass Password Manager, $18 a year
NordPass is a relatively new service launched in 2019, that allows users to store their passwords and secure notes in a secure password vault. It runs across all the major operating systems (Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS). Like 1Password, the user has a single password that opens their vault.
“NordPass uses an encryption algorithm called XChaCha, a stream cipher, which is similar to Google’s TLS encryption algorithm,” Bader notes. “NordPass will scan the web to see if your password has been leaked in data breaches and also evaluate the strengths of your passwords.”
Interestingly, NordPass is based in Panama, which does not have mandatory data retention laws and doesn’t participate in data sharing with any governments. So, if that’s something you’re extra keen on avoiding, this one may be for you — especially for just $60 for a family of six.
5. Dashlane Password Manager, $60 a year
“Dashlane software has been available for a decade, and runs either as a browser extension on Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Safari, or on a mobile device such as iOS and Android,” Bader mentions. “Similar with 1Password and Keeper, Dashlane uses PBKDF2 on your device and industry-standard 256-bit AES encryption to protect your passwords in the secure vault.”
In 2018, Dashlane reached 10 million users and 10,000 businesses around the world. Dashlane also has a free version that can store up to 50 passwords from one device.
“For users who purchase a license, Dashlane has also partnered with HotSpot Shield to provide a VPN, which adds a layer of protection for your browsing and data when you’re connecting to the Internet on public WiFi,” Bader adds. Plus, it’s $90 a year for a family of six.
6. LastPass Password Manager, $36 a year
LastPass, available since 2008, is a password vault compatible with all the common browsers, operating systems (Windows, macOS and Linux), and mobile (iOS and Android). LastPass also uses the PBKDF2 algorithm and 256-bit AES encryption to protect your main password and everything stored in the secure vault.
“Today, 30 million users and 85,000 businesses use LastPass,” Bader notes. “LastPass shares your information with Enzoic to perform dark web scans.” Plus, it’s $48 a year for a family of six, one of the best values we’ve seen.
7. KeePass Password Safe, FREE
nlike most of the other password keepers, KeePass keeps all your information on your device rather than a secure vault in the cloud. However, there’s a distinct set of pros and cons, according to Bader:
This is the most secure way to keep your information safe, it is free and open source. Security professionals who have reviewed KeePass’s source code vouch for this security software. KeePass uses the best encryption algorithms including AES-256, ChaCha20, and TwoFish.
You will have to be a savvy user to manage your password database file. You can store the database on your current device, but then you won’t have access from other devices and also risk losing it if anything happens to your device.