Password managers such as LastPass offer a simple service: They will store all your annoying passwords (and help you generate new ones if needed) and then give them out to whatever service you’re logging into through the use of browser add-ons and apps. They’re much like the password tools already built into your browser itself—the ones that ask you if you want to save your password for this site so you don’t have it enter it again. Password managers, however, were built for this specific purpose and include a suite of tools that let you access the same library of passwords across your devices. This cache of passwords is, of course, protected by a super-password of its own which you obviously need to choose carefully.

With a password manager, on the other hand, it’s trivial to make all your passwords unique. You don’t need to memorize passwords, because it’s impossible-to-memorize 30-character long password, text, and symbols which are hard to type. When you have to change them, no problem. LastPass even has a feature that will auto-change your passwords for supported sites. In the worst case scenario if passwords are somehow exposed, your most crucial accounts should be protected by two-factor authentication.

While the risks of password managers prevail over by the ease with which LastPass allow you to make your passwords strong and unique, they do have their downsides. LastPass App is available on virtually every device, but you will have to download them on new gadgets before logging in to other things. This also makes logging into your accounts on someone else’s device a strange and potentially risky proposition.

Inevitably, you’ll stumble across a device that isn’t supported, and then you’re spending five minutes typing your incomprehensible Amazon password onto a Kindle manually while looking back at your phone for reference all the while. (It pays to keep a handful of the crucial passwords strong, but still something you can memorize). And for the full suite of features any password manager offers, you’re going to have to shell out a little bit of cash. It’s worth it for the convenience and peace of mind.

Everybody should install and use a password manager. Without a password manager, you’ll find yourself using simple-minded passwords like LastPass, or memorizing one strong password and using it over and over. Password manager prices range from nothing at all to $40 or more. At $12 per year, LastPass 4.0 Premium is on the low side for a commercial password manager price-wise, but on the high side feature-wise. The current version’s online console has gotten a welcome face-lift, along with a number of useful new features.

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“LastPass also supports a range of multi-factor authentication options for protecting your vault, including app-based authenticators like Symantec VIP and Google Authenticator, hardware tokens like YubiKey, and fingerprint readers. And its $12-a-year subscription is a steal when other password manager services charge as much as $35 for a single user.”

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