The more websites we sign up to, the more passwords we have to remember, this often causes us to use the same password multiple times, which can cause major problems if, for example, you use the same password for your Online Banking and Facebook accounts.
A simple way to remove the problems associated with remembering all those different passwords is to store them all in some form of database, thankfully there are programs out there to make this process painless.
LastPass offers both free and premium versions of its web browser extension/online password storage service. The free version enables you to store and generate passwords from inside Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari and Google Chrome. The premium service adds access to mobile apps for BlackBerry, iPhone and Android.
LastPass can also generate secure passwords for you, meaning that your online accounts are less likely to fall victim to opportunistic hackers.
One feature that seems a bit of a strange offering given this is supposed to be a secure password storage service, is the ability for you to share your passwords with other people securely. I'm not entirely sure where I would ever use such a feature, but it's there should you want it.
LastPass Premium also supports 2-factor authentication using a Yubikey authentication device, for even greater security.
My current password manager of choice, KeePass stores your passwords in an encrypted database file, and allows you to specify either a key file, password, or both, to secure access.
I have been using KeePass to store and generate my online passwords for years, and it has several features that have made it my go-to password manager.
Your database is stored wherever you choose, you can place it on an external storage device, your phone, or some form of cloud storage, and just tell KeePass where it is.
Being able to secure access to your passwords using a key file stored on a separate storage device enables you to achieve that extra layer of security, making your password database useless to anyone who doesn't have your key file.
KeyPass can be used on multiple platforms, as there are programs available for Windows, OS X, Linux and both the iPhone and Android.
It's password generator can generate any complexity of password you require, at any length needed. Have a website that only accepts 8 character alpha-numeric passwords? KeePass can be set to generate a password matching those restrictions, that is still secure.
There are other password managers available, however I have no experience with them, and therefore cannot vouch for their abilities. If anyone else has knowledge of alternatives that they feel should be added to this post, please let me know in the comments, and I will look into them.
Image from Flickr user Marc Falardeau