Amherst College does not currently provide or recommend a particular password manager. IT suggests using a product that does the following:
- Uses strong authentication to access the password vault
- Supports multi-factor authentication
- Provides emergency recovery in case you forget your master password
- Identifies weak, reused, or compromised passwords
- Generates random, unguessable passwords
- Works on all your devices
- Syncs password vaults across all devices
- Remembers/records all passwords in a secure location that is not readily accessible by anyone using your device
- Allows you to store more than a password, such as security questions and profile details
Many password managers offer additional features, such as shared vaults for family members and data storage for things like an image of your passport details and vaccination cards.
Word of Caution
Remember, whichever password manager you use, make sure you understand and use the features correctly. The password manager will have the keys to every aspect of your digital life, so make sure that the master password that unlocks your digital life is something nobody can guess, and never share it with anyone.
Browser-Based Password Managers
We frequently get questions about browser-based password managers, such as those provided by Chrome, Safari, and Firefox. These are very convenient and offer some security. However, they also come with some important risks.
- Browser-specific: While browser-based password managers do sync across your devices, they are not shared across different browsers. So if you change between browsers, you may not be able to access your passwords from another browser.
- Anyone accessing your browser has access to your passwords: If you let someone use your device and web browser, they will have the same access you do to your password vault. And if you use Chrome and your Google account is compromised, your password manager may be readily available to anyone with access to your compromised account.
Can Your Password Be Cracked?
It can be sobering to see how quickly some passwords can be cracked. If you want to learn more about passwords and see how easily certain passwords can be cracked, see the Password Haystack.