Like many folks I’ve had to resort to remembering a password that is hopefully not guessable and strong enough to withstand hacking. Even when doing that, its hard to remember a large number of unguessable passwords and so I, like many others resorted to using one of the few non-guessable passwords on lots of different accounts. So, what was hopefully none guessable is the one thing protecting so many different accounts. Once its compromised, your sunk. So, how do you protect the many Internet based accounts with passwords that are hard to guess but easy to remember? I found a great tools that I really like called 1Password from Agile Bits.
Basically 1Password is a program that holds the sites, user names and passwords to all your Internet sites. You might say, well, I’ve got a Word Document that I keep all that in already. 1Password goes beyond storing the information but it will also allow you to launch the site with a double click and automatically put the user and password in the form for you. That’s nice, right? But wait, there’s more.
1Password will also allow you to generate a random password that you can provide some guidance on things like length, special characters, etc. This allows you to create passwords that are random and fairly uncrackable. In fact, I don’t actually know the passwords to most of the sites I access because they are large random collections of gobbledegook. See the screen shot for an example of generating a password.
This allows you to create very safe passwords that are different for all the sites you access and keep those passwords unique so if a site gets hacked, you’ve only lost one very complicated and unique password. This will significantly limit your exposure to someone else’s security breach.
The next question I asked myself is what if I’m using my iPhone? No problem, 1Password has a Mac OS X as well as a Windows version of its product that also has an iOS and Android versions as well. So, you can use 1Password on all your devices and not have to worry. But how do I sync them?
1Password offers a neat little feature that uses Dropbox to sync all your 1Password programs together. So, you don’t have to specifically sync everything, that is handled by 1Password in the background. Sounds great, but is that safe?
The 1Password database is protected by a single master key that you specify. Of course, you want this key to be non-guessable and secure but its the one password you need to remember. This makes keeping all of your passwords safe and secure.
One other thing to consider is that 1Password will also allow you to save notes, jot down software license keys or simply act as a repository for other secure information like bank account numbers, social security information for your family, etc. Items you need access to electronically from time to time but are sensitive and things you don’t want to leave on your harddisk unprotected.
Finally, the one password that is probably the most important to safeguard that you’ll be tempted to also be one you can remember is your e-mail password. If someone hacks or get’s access to your e-mail there is little hope that your online life will be secure. If a hacker get’s your e-mail password generally they only have to access a site with your user name and then indicate they forgot their password. Most sites will send you a reset link or other mechanism to reset your password easily. This is the most important password you must protect.
If you don’t have a safe mechanism for keeping your passwords, take a look at 1Password. I found it to make my online life less hectic and I believe more secure.