It seems that almost every site on the web requires a password. At least twice a week, I get an email from someone who wants me to join yet another network, which requires yet another username and password. You can cop out and use the same username and password combination, but that’s just asking for trouble.
The key to surviving password management going forward is to make a small investment in a password management service that stores your passwords in the cloud and also on your computer. The best thing about a password manager is that you ultimately have just the one master password to remember, which gets you access to all the different passwords for each site.
What to look for:
- A password generator tool that makes strong passwords that cannot be cracked, and that you never really need to remember, because they are all stored in the password manager.
- One that works across multiple browsers and can sync multiple PCs.
- Smartphone application syncing with the cloud.
- Security of password managers is pretty much a nonissue at this point, since most have levels of encryption that can’t be easily cracked.
The real security vulnerability is with your own computer and any existing or future malware that can log your keystrokes or take screenshots. Run virus scans and the most updated version of your antivirus software to prevent any infections.
Another layer of protection is to add your computer’s built-in onscreen keyboard to your task bar and use it to enter your master password.
Cloud-based password managers:
RoboForm is my favorite. It’s $9.95 for the first year and $19.95 every year after that.
Install RoboForm on as many computers and mobile devices as you wish, all with the same license. Seamlessly keep your passwords and other data in sync. Always have a backup copy of your passwords and other information. It’s also extremely secure and easy to use.
Keepass is free. This is a free open-source password manager, which helps to securely manage your passwords. You can store all your passwords in one database, which is locked with one master key or a key file. So you only have to remember one single master password or select the key file to unlock the whole database. The databases are encrypted using the best and most secure encryption algorithms currently known (AES and Twofish). For more information, see their features page.
For $39.35, 1Password can create strong, unique passwords, remember them, and restore them, all directly in your web browser.
LastPass is also another good free option.
Using a password management tool like those listed above is easier: never forget a password again and log into your sites with a single mouse click.
It’s everywhere: the program automatically synchronizes your password data, so you can access it from anywhere at anytime.
It’s safer: protect yourself from phishing scams, online fraud, and malware.
It’s secure: all of your data is encrypted locally on your PC, so only you can unlock it.
Robert Siciliano, personal security expert contributor to Just Ask Gemalto.