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Three password apps to protect yourself from trouble like the Gawker database hack

Sure, it's fun to post comments on websites and converse with your fellow readers, but there's always a little danger involved. Why? Because sometimes the sites where you post those comments rile up the wrong people and wind up with a big security breach -- like the one at Gawker.

One of the biggest lessons to be learned from the Gawker fiasco is this: don't use the same password everywhere.

But remembering all those different passwords is hard, yo!

Yes, it is -- but there are secure tools you can use which make it so you don't have to do the remembering yourself. Apps like LastPass, OnePassword, and KeePass make creating and utilizing complex, secure passwords a trivial task. All you need to do is pick an app, create an account, and set up one really good password you can remember to protect it. Your password manager will take care of the memorizing.

Take the jump to see how easy it can be to better protect your logins online!

All three of these tools offer strong password generators. Get as crazy as you like -- use a massive, 20+ character password if you like, as long as the site you're using supports passwords that long. Set the options you'd like the app to use to make your combination harder to crack: mix upper and lower case, use numbers, avoid repeating characters, or use special symbols. The last option you may not be able to use everywhere, as some sites don't allow them (for whatever reason).

Once your password has been created, you only need to enter it once. After that, you can simply use your app of choice to log in for you. Creating strong passwords is only part of the battle, of course. You log in to dozens of websites, and that means piles and piles of login credentials to remember.

Don't sweat it. Any good password management app can handle whatever you need to throw at it. Chuck two hundred sites into LastPass, KeePass, or OnePassword, and they'll beg for more. Since they can handle the workload, make sure you use a different password everywhere you create an account. If one of your logins should get compromised -- like your Gawker commenting account -- it's only one account. Since you've been generating strong, unique passwords for each site, a ne'er-do-well can't simply take that password and, say, jump on to your Flickr account and post pictures.

It's also worth noting that everything these apps do is encrypted. Passwords on your computer are stored in a heavily encrypted format, so even if someone stole your laptop they'd still have to break the one uber-hard-but-memorable password you used to lock it down. It's much safer than using your browser's built-in password storage -- a free app from NirSoft can reveal most of those in a heartbeat. You're also safe from keyloggers, since you don't actually press any keys to input your password into login forms -- the app does all the data entry for you.

The three apps I've mentioned are available on a number of platforms, so you can even access all your passwords on the go from your smartphone. You've got nothing to lose, and a whole lot of peace of mind to gain by securing your precious logins with one of these tools.

KeePass

LastPass

OnePassword

Got another favorite password management app? Share it with us in the comments!

Tags: breach, gawker, hack, keepass, lastpass, login, onepassword, passwords, secure, security, web

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