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How a password manager can help you stay more secure online

It's more important than ever to secure your online accounts, but remembering unique passwords can be difficult
It's more important than ever to secure your ... 01:15

With so many major retailers and social media sites falling victim to hacking, it seems more important than ever before to protect your personal data online. However, many computer users use the same passwords to login to multiple websites -- a big mistake, according to security experts.

One simple password may be easier to remember, but it's also easier for hackers to gain access your personal information. Online security expert Justin Cappos says all hackers have to do is break into the customer database of one company. They can then gain access to multiple sites and even financial accounts that have the same username and password. And he says its happening more and more every day.

"If you use many websites, I can say almost certainly say a password of yours has been compromised," Cappos, an assistant professor of computer science and engineering at NYU, told CBS News' Marlie Hall.

Using a password manager to create and keep track of your passwords can be a good solution.

A password manager creates a long, very complicated password for each site and keeps track of it for you, so you don't have to remember it when you want to log in. Password managers like LastPass generate and store passwords in a secure way on your computer or smartphone. Some of the options are even free.

"You just remember one password and every different website you go to has a unique one for you," Cappos said.

Another way to protect your data is to opt for two-factor authentication. Available on Google, Facebook and Twitter, when you log onto the site with a password, the site sends you a text message with a unique code to enter. No one else can log in using your password alone.

Both are ways for online consumers to have both convenience and a little more peace of mind.

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