Remembering Passwords

Category: Security

Passwords... we have a love/hate relationship with them. We love them because they are the first line of defense against fraud and identity theft. They protect the security of our email account, online banking and credit card purchases. We hate them because as we use passwords for almost every important activity on the internet, it becomes nearly impossible to remember all the usernames and the passwords that we have created. Fortunately there are tools to make the job easier...

Using Password Managers

Remembering passwords is not easy. Many web sites and internet services require you to create lengthy and meaningless passwords so that the hackers cannot break them. While this is necessary for the security of your accounts, it is also very difficult to remember all those passwords. Many people have the dangerous habit of jotting down their passwords and sticking it below the monitor, or writing them in a notepad, but this can be dangerous. The best way to manage your passwords is to use one of the software programs available, which help you to remember the passwords in a hassle free and secure manner.

Browser based password managers

Many leading browsers like Internet Explore and Firefox allow you to manage your passwords by remembering them on your behalf. When you are filling in your login form, the password manager of the browser will ask if you want the browser to remember the login info and use it next time you login. While this is a very easy and inexpensive method of managing your passwords, this can also be dangerous. If any other person is using your computer, all they have to do is to type your account name in the browser and it will give them access to your personal data.

Third party password managers

Another method is to use the third party applications which are available in the market. There are both free and commercial applications available and you can choose one according to your convenience and budget. Here is a brief introduction to some of the leading password managers available.

  • Any Password -- Any Password is available for non-commercial and non-profit users. Using Any Password, you can store all your passwords, user IDs and other related information in this easy to use tool. It supports features like password generation, incremental search, tree-type data structure, import and export of data. Any Password Pro is available at US$24.95 and offers extra features such as expired password notifications, ability to run the tool from removable devices, and data file compression.
  • RoboForm -- Winner of many awards and accolades, Roboform is a password manager and web form filler. It not only fills the passwords for you in the browser, it also clicks the login button for you! You can even auto-fill personal information online and manage offline passwords and notes with this tool. Roboform is available in both free and commercial versions. The commercial version is priced at US$29.95.
  • Password Safe -- This application was developed by Counterpane Internet Security and now it is used as an open-source software program available for free. This application performs basic password management functions like encrypting, storing and managing password information. It works on Windows 95/98/NT/2000/XP systems and it can also be used on USB devices.
  • Norton Password Manager -- Norton Password Manager is a commercial product that lets you store passwords, telephone numbers, credit card information and other sensitive information. It can also supply automatic information to the web sites based on user request. It is priced at $39.95.

Web based services

The above mentioned services can be accessed only from computers on which they are installed. If you like the idea of accessing your passwords from wherever you go, you can try free tools such as PasswordSafe.com. Here, you need to create an account and confirm the same by email. It stores all your passwords online and provides access to those passwords when you login to your account.

While the importance of maintaining and securing your passwords cannot be undermined, using or buying a password management tool is completely dependent on the level of your internet usage and the type of services you use. While for some users, browser based services can do the trick, others may need to use commercial applications that provide advanced features. Try a few and choose the one that best meets your needs.

 
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Posted by on 12 Jun 2007


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Most recent comments on "Remembering Passwords"

Posted by:

Dave J
13 Jun 2007

Or, on the other hand one can use a USB "Memory Stick" or "Thumb Drive" as they're also known and keep them there. I have upwards of 30 different IDs and passwords between my Red Cross, my CAP, my government, and my EMS "accounts", as well as several yahoo, AOL, and other accounts. I gave up trying to remember them all and just carry a thumb drive on a "necklace" almost whereever I go. I keep and travel with a back up of course.

EDITOR'S NOTE: As long as you never lose that thumb drive... how about putting Roboform2GO on that drive, so it can encrypt those passwords?


Posted by:

Freeport
13 Jun 2007

Randy Cassingham (of This Is True fame) recommended RoboForm in his newsletter some time back, and I tried the free version. I *love* it! I have so many logins and passwords that I bought the premium version, and it was well worth the $30 it cost. Of course, I do keep a backup!

RoboForm also give me a Notes field where I can store the answers to those security questions I can't ever remember. I particularly appreciate that I don't even have to type the web address of the site I'm going to, just choose it from my list of logins. RoboForm takes me to the site, fills in my login info, and presses the submit buttun for me (I feel so pampered!).


Posted by:

Doug Godbey
14 Jun 2007

A Password Manager that I have been using for a long time is KeePass. It has good encryption of the password database, is easy to setup and use, and can manage a huge number of passwords. It's also Free (always a good thing).


Posted by:

Tony
14 Jun 2007

I particularly like Password Generator at http://angel.net/~nic/passwd.html This way I only have to remember one password and it will create strong passwords for all of my other passworded sites. Technically it has the double security of "if you guess my master password, can you also guess the name that I use for the site name". I might use the url of a particular site but then again I might not.


Posted by:

Ron Brown
14 Jun 2007

I use Splash ID and it syncs with my Treo. I offer this suggestion because none of the ones in the article are Mac compatible. Splash ID is OSX compatiple.


Posted by:

Paul Sheldon
14 Jun 2007

I've used Password Corral by Cygnus software for many years. Simple to use, easy to transfer to other pc's securely and ...free..!


Posted by:

Sarah L
14 Jun 2007

IF you decide to use your USB drive to carry around *anything* important, please at least go to the link below and download and install this little program to help your USB drive find it's way home again... Very clever and easy to use; you can also customize it without much trouble. Like Mr. Godbey above, I too have had good success with KeePass - and it resides happily on my USB drive! Thanks for another great article! :)

http://www.dailycupoftech.com/have-your-lost-usb-drive-ask-for-help/


Posted by:

Mark Stubbs
15 Jun 2007

I've used Acerose Password Vault for ages and keep a copy of its database on a mem stick. It generates passwords and holds usernames, URL's, notes, and auto login info if you want it. Its encryption method means it is almost impossible to crack so I store all my bank account and card info in it too. Easy peasy and I have no idea what my passwords are.


Posted by:

Ted
15 Jun 2007

I've used RoboForm Pro for quite a few years now and LOVE it (obviously!) Now I've gotten RoboForm 2Go for my thumb drive and RoboForm Palm for my Treo! I've tried quite a few of the competing "password managers" and none of them do the job like RoboForm! Can't recommend it highly enough.


Posted by:

Glenn P.
16 Jun 2007

See "Whisper32" by Shaun Ivory at http://www.ivory.org/whisper.html

Not associated with Shaun Ivory except as a Happy Customer. 'Nuff Sed!!! :)


Posted by:

Marcy
16 Jun 2007

I've used Personal Passworder since 2002 and wouldn't change for the world. I can change all the fields to what I need and add as many folders as I need. It also will generate a password for me. I can export it into a text file and put it on a thumb drive for traveling. I keep everything there and would be dead without it. :-) The deluxe is only $19.95 and well worth the cost. http://www.dvasoft.com/passworder/


Posted by:

satz
19 Jun 2007

would it be a good idea to email passwords to yourself? for eg: storing passwords on a gmail account.

EDITOR'S NOTE: There are so many secure ways to do it, I wouldn't recommend email because it travels over the Net without encryption.


Posted by:

jamesj
20 Jun 2007

I am selling an old gateway solo 3450. None of us here know the password. I need to clean it up and only leave the basics. How can I get past the password needed authorization?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Is it a power-on password? If so, you can remove the battery from the motherboard for a day, then it should "forget" the password. If it's a Windows logon password, you can wipe the disk clean (format) and re-install Windows. You could also just remove the hard drive and destroy it. A new 40GB drive can be purchased for under $40 now.


Posted by:

Ron S
22 Jun 2007

You can configure the browser-based password manager in Firefox to require a master password. If someone else uses your computer, and they don't know the master password, they cannot access your personal data. Passwords are encrypted and stored in a file that you can copy to another computer if you use more than one PC. It's easy, free, and built-in! No extra programs to have to think about.


Posted by:

Pete H
06 Aug 2007

Since I don't travel much with my computer, I use one of those pocket-sized address books. Keep the site by alphabetical order, and use the phone/email lines for user name and pass word.

A thought on security: It is usually recommended that you use a mix of numbers and letter. I use 2 words, separated by a number. One word is in English, and the other is in any other language, often Latin, Spanish or Welsh. Very few sniffers can deal with 2 languages at once. In the English word, I replace letters. a=2 (@) e=3, s=4 and so on, based on the shift value of the number. The backup is on the thumb drive so I can travel if needed.


Posted by:

taty
09 Aug 2007

I surf internet on a day-to-day basis, I have to access accounts, forums, chat rooms, and blogs which require an authentication password. I used nice enough password manager - Handy Hassword . And some time ago they announced new release for usb. I've bought it (something about $30) and i'm happy. all my personal information - with me. i like it.


Posted by:

Florian
29 Aug 2009

someone has changed my password on facebook and in messenger and i want to find a way to know what is my new password.i hope that u can help me.thnx


Posted by:

peter
25 Apr 2010

how do I get my computer to remember my bank access card number, even thought I check the remember box.


Posted by:

cassandra suggs
07 Jan 2011

i need help now because i need a new email password word for my facebook i collect to my friend up there i have my friend up there


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