As I mentioned, one of my longstanding and only recently realized New Year’s resolutions was to get a handle on my password security. If you are like me, you have literally dozens, if not hundreds, of login/password combinations to try and manage. Email accounts, websites, bank accounts, etc. And like most people, it is easy to fall into the trap of just using one password for everything. And therein lies the problem. If the bad guys get hold of that one password, you have a big problem on your hands.
This is the issue that 1Password by Agile Web Solutions, Inc. solves – and does so darn near perfectly. The application is both a password management program and a password generator. So you can use the program to create incredibly complex random character/letter/number combination passwords that NSA might have trouble cracking. And once generated, you can have the program remember them so you don’t have to.
Here’s what you do. The application walks you through the setup process pretty easily. There are only two tricky points. One, you will have to come up with a master password. This is the key to unlocking 1Password (so that others can not get into it and discover all your secret password stuff). This is the only password you will then have to remember. Then, you tell 1Password where you want it to store your passwords. Here is where it gets interesting. There are 1Password applications that you can purchase for your iPhone and iPad as well as your mac computers. If you want all your passwords to be synced so that the protection features are shared across all the platforms you use, you have to store the 1Password keychain in a common space that all have access to. The suggested methodology is to use the popular DropBox application. Dropbox is free and very popular. Once you set up a DropBox account and place a special DropBox folder on each of your platforms, anything you put in it is shared across all platforms through the magic of the “cloud”. So storing your 1Password keychain in your DropBox folder makes it accessible to each platform that uses 1Password.
Once installed, 1Password looks over your shoulder and anytime you log into an account of some sort, it asks you if you want to remember that login information in 1Password. At this point you can save the login info, and better yet, use 1Password to change your password to a more secure one and replace the old. When you next go to that site or login, you can ask 1Password to fill in the pertinent password. And voila!
I think the cool thing is you can ask 1Password to remember logins (on websites that ask you for userid and password), accounts (such as email), identities (for all the information such as name, address, phone numbers, etc. that many sites ask for), software licenses, and wallets (bank accounts and credit cards). Given that I can sync all of my password data across my iMac, my PowerBook, my iPhone, and my iPad – I think this program is indispensable. I’m totally on board with it now and can’t for the life of me understand why it took me so long to start using it.
Give it a try. You won’t be disappointed.