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.
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 12 Jun 2007
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Remembering Passwords (Posted: 12 Jun 2007)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved