Conjuring up inventive passwords for every site you use is a necessary evil that is a huge hassle, but you can takes the stress out of password organization with a password manager. Not only does a password manager eliminate the need to remember dozens of passwords by replacing them with a single master one, it can also generate strong passwords for you, auto fill forms, secure notes, and more.

If you’ve been considering using a password manager but you were over whelmed by all the choices, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll explore LastPass and 1Password, two of the hottest password managers on the market today and point out the features of each.

LastPass
LastPass is a browser-based password manager that works across all platforms and smartphones. Before your master password and other data leave your device, LastPass encrypts it. If security is a major concern to you, LastPass gives you the option of two-factor authentication which requires a second security code when you log in. LastPass will tell you if your password is weak, and can generate one for you if you’d like.

LastPass will save the usernames and passwords you fill in on websites and populated them automatically the next time you open the site. LastPass also fills in forms with data such as membership codes, your address, credit card information and such. The password manager stores your passwords and data in a “Vault.” Open the vault and you can edit, delete and organize the data stored inside.  LastPass syncs automatically, so you always get current data on every device.

You can set up a Profile for each family member, as well as each credit card and its corresponding billing address. Fill your virtual shopping cart and when it’s time to check-out, simply select the Profile you want. With just one click, LastPass will auto-fill the form.

Using LastPass you can also record and securely store important notes or sensitive information such as your driver’s license number, health insurance cards and more. If necessary, you can attach documents and images to the notes, giving you access to a digital copy of the data at all times. LastPass security is supported by 256-bit AES.

Highlights of LastPass

  • LastPass uses the Cloud to store your data, which makes it incredibly flexible. Currently, LastPass supports Mac, Windows, iOS and Android, plus Linux, BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7 and Microsoft Surface RT.
  • LastPass syncs with all of your devices, and the fact that it’s tied to your browser makes it easy to save data and access it from other computers.
  • If you’re using a different password manager and want to make the switch to LastPass, you’ll be glad to hear that LastPass imports login info from 24 similar services.
  • It’s also priced right. Getting started with LastPass is free. LastPass Premium offers unlimited mobile access for $12 annually.
  • Password-sharing tool is a plus.

1Password
Using 1Password you’ll be able to securely store a wide variety of information, in addition to login data. It will encrypt your kid’s social security number, bank account details, credit card numbers, and other sensitive information using 256-bit AES encryption.

It’s easy to get started with 1Password, even if you’re not tech savvy. As you peruse the Internet, 1Password lets you save login information as you go. When you visit the password-protected site again, you’ll enjoy the ease of signing in with one click. 1Password will also auto fill credit card info, shipping and billing addresses and membership numbers, like frequent flyer numbers.

If you’re sick and tired of creating passwords, 1Password is happy to take care of the pesky task for you. Its password generator will not only build a password, it will also rate its strength. So whether you create it, or 1Password does, you’ll be sure to get one that’s tough as nails. If you’re switching to 1Password from another password manager, chances are you’ll have no trouble. 1Password imports data for 14 of its competitors. Unlike LastPass, 1Password does not have a password sharing tool.

1Password has a variety of price packages. 1Password supports Mac, Windows, iOS and Android, and there’s a mobile version for iPhone, iPod and iPad.

Highlights of 1Password

  • Includes the ability to use Dropbox or iCloud for syncing.
  • Security audit alerts you to weak passwords, and duplicates.
  • Powerful password generator.
  • 1Password only imports data from 14 competitors, compared to 24 with LastPass, but doing so is remarkably easy.

According to InstantCheckmate, almost 75 percent of people use the same password for more than one site, and it only takes a cyber criminal about three minutes to break the average password. If you’re one of the many, we suggest you take advantage of a password manager such as LastPass or 1Password.

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