What Should You Store in a Password Manager?

5 min read by Bogdi

published 4 luni în urmă, updated 4 luni în urmă

Password managers are a convenient way to store all of your passwords in one place. Besides passwords, most password managers can store other types of data as well.

So what exactly should you store in your password manager? Here is a list of suggested items:

  • Passwords for all online accounts
  • Credit/debit card information
  • Bank account login information
  • Delivery addresses
  • Insurance policy numbers
  • Medical insurance ID numbers
  • Social Security Numbers

With this in mind, let's dive deeper into each of these items.

Passwords for all online accounts

This is probably the most obvious and important thing to store in your password manager. If someone gets ahold of your passwords, they could potentially access all of your accounts. Make sure to use unique passwords for each account and remember to change them regularly.

A password manager helps a lot with this aspect by generating and remembering new and unique random passwords for each of your accounts. You don't have to come up with new passwords and you don't have to remember them. It's a double win!

Credit/debit card information

Storing your credit card information in a password manager is a convenient way to make online purchases. You don't have to worry about remembering your card number or expiration date.

When making a purchase you can just enter your master password and the password manager will automatically fill in all of this information for you. This way, you don't have to worry about people stealing your card information, even if you left your phone or laptop unlocked.

Bank account login information

Similar to other accounts, bank account login information should also be protected by a 2-factor authentication (2FA). This way, if someone gains access to your account, they won't be able to transfer any money out without having your phone.

Some examples of good 2FA applications are Google Authenticator and Authy.

If you don't want to use a password manager for this, at least make sure that your bank account login password is different from other passwords. This way if someone gets access to one of your accounts they won't be able to get into all of them just because the password was similar.

Delivery addresses

When you order something online from a new website, you have to input your address. This can be a pain if you have to type it in every single time.

A password manager can store all of your delivery addresses so that you don't have to enter them manually each time. You just need to remember the master password for your password manager and the password manager will automatically fill in all of the information for you.

Additionally, if you move a lot, it might be difficult to remember all of your delivery addresses. Having them stored somewhere safe is a great way to make sure they are never forgotten or misplaced again.

Insurance policy numbers, Medical insurance ID numbers, and Social Security Numbers

Most password managers have a dedicated place for 'secure notes'. In here your can store anything you want. This includes Insurance policy numbers, Medical insurance ID numbers, Social Security Numbers, or any other information that is very sensitive and shouldn't be stored in plain text.

This secure notes section makes it easy to store all of your most important personal data without having to worry about hackers gaining access to them.

How safe is a password manager?

Let's talk about the elephant in the room. Should you put all your eggs in one basket and store all your sensitive information in a single application?

The honest answer is that password managers are as safe as you make them. If you use a weak password or don't enable two-factor authentication, then your data is not very safe. However, if you use a strong password and enable two-factor authentication, then your data will be much more secure.

In general, password managers have a very high level of security. This is because they are usually password-protected and the data is encrypted. So even if someone steals your phone or laptop, they will not be able to access your data without knowing your password.

On top of that, encrypted data means that your passwords, credit card numbers, and everything you save in a password manager is not stored directly on your device. The password manager application uses an encryption algorithm to transform all your data into unreadable junk. The only way to get this data back (your passwords) is to know the master password.

Can the company that owns the password manager access your data?

Simply put, most password manager companies are not able to read your information. This is because password managers use encryption to store your data, making it unreadable without your master password or backup key.

There are 2 big groups of password managers offline and online. Online password managers store your encrypted data in the cloud. Offline password managers also encrypt your passwords and files, but they store them locally (on your device). From your point of view, the offline password manager can be used from a single device, while the online one syncs your password between devices (eg: your laptop and your phone).

In both cases, having the data encrypted means that not even the people that created the password manager can read your information without your master password.

What happens if someone steals your master password?

If you suspect that someone might know your master password, immediately change it. You should be able to do this from the password manager app, in the settings section.

Usually, the application will ask for your 2FA, backup key, phone number, or some kind of additional security to make sure it's you and not a hacker. After doing this step, your password manager should be safe.

If you happen to use the master password on other accounts, not just the password manager, make sure to change them, too. I highly recommend using a completely different password as your master password. By doing so, you are protected if any of your online accounts are leaked and the password exposed -- at least your password manager is safe.

The last and most tedious thing to do is reset all your other passwords. In a few seconds, a hacker could copy most of your important passwords if they had access to your password manager. Even if they can no longer access it, they might have saved your passwords on their computer and can still try to access your accounts.

Start with the most important accounts first, that are not protected by 2FA. The 2FA protected accounts should be the last since they also need your phone to login.

Conclusion

Password managers are a convenient way to store all of your passwords in one place. Besides passwords, most password managers can store credit/debit card information, bank account login information, delivery addresses, insurance policy numbers, medical ID numbers, and any other short text that you consider private. Personally, I find that passwords, credit cards, and delivery addresses are the most useful in my day-to-day life.

If you consider buying a password manager, I can recommend you NordPass. It's the one I use, it can do everything I wrote in this article and was never hacked. It even has a free plan if you want to test it.

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