How to manage your passwords
of web work is the need to come up with, and remember, usernames and
passwords. The days when you could get away with picking a single
combination and using them everywhere are pretty much gone: that
strategy reduces your security to that of the weakest site you use.
It’s simply not worth risking that the person who gets hold of some Web
2.0 startup’s database can also get into your online banking…
Fortunately for those of us who don’t have superhuman memories,
there are multiple solutions available for generating, and remembering,
authentication information for all the different sites and services
that we use. Here are seven different ways to keep track of the
explosion of passwords, from simple to complex. Depending on your
situation (operating system, mobility, number of accounts) you should
be able to find something to fit your needs.
1. The simple text file. This
is the easiest solution of all: each time you come up with a new
password, put it in a text file (or spreadsheet, or outline file, or
whatever other format appeals to you). When you need the password, open
the file and look it up. This solution makes it easy to back up your
passwords, and to move them from one computer to another, even across
multiple operating systems. The big problem: it also makes it possible
for someone to steal all of your passwords at once. If you go this
route, you should use something like TrueCrypt to encrypt the file,
just in case.
2. Let the
browser remember them.
Most modern browsers will happily remember all of your password for
you, and enter them back in when you go back to a site. Unfortunately,
this ties you to a particular browser instance unless you jump through
3. Use a
password store. Applications like CiphSafe for OS X or
PassKeeper for Windows are designed as secure, client-site password
stores. They save all your passwords in an encrypted list for you, so
you don’t have to bother with encrypting your list with a separate
application. They’re easy to use, but if cross-platform compatibility
is important they’re a bad choice.
4. Use a
password manager. These do-it-all client-side applications help
you generate passwords, store them, and fill in online forms. On
Windows, RoboForm is most often mentioned; on OS X, 1Password has a
strong following. The main issues with this sort of application is that
they are operating system specific, and it can be difficult to share
passwords across multiple computers.
as needed. This is the strategy taken by PasswordMaker.
Available for Firefox, Windows, Mac, and more, PasswordMaker uses a
one-way algorithm to generate a unique site password based on your
master password and the URL of the site you’re visiting.
6. Use an
online password manager. Applications like Clipperz or
my1Password (currently in closed beta) store all of your passwords
online and encrypted, accessible only by your own master password. When
you need a particular password, you just visit their site from any
browser and enter your master password to get going. This gives you
excellent portability, though the user interfaces for these services
have some tendency to be clunky.
7. Use a
proxy service. This is the approach taken by PageOnce, which
lets you set up a single account and then use it to access a variety of
internet services. They do this by asking for, and storing, your
credentials on those services, so how useful this is depends on how
much you trust their security.
Still need help?
We hope that this article was useful. If you require more
information, or have other questions, give our friendly techs a call on
1300 600 670,
request help at our website at www.itsfixed.com.au.
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