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Too Many Passwords

There has been a lot of discussion about passwords lately.  Sony was recently hacked, CitiBank recently had an intrusion, and the list goes on and on.  The really hardcore computer security people will tell you to 1) Use different password for every account that you have, 2) Use different security questions for every account that you have, and 3) use a strong password for all of your accounts.  But that’s really hard.

Recently I’ve been trying out a program called 1Password.  It’s a password management application.  There are others such as KeePass and LastPass, but I chose 1Password for a few reasons.  First of all, unlike LastPass, your password data is stored on your computer (LastPass stores it on their servers, which by the way, recently got hacked). Second of all, 1Password supports a lot of different platforms including MacOS, Windows, iOS, and Android.  So there is a lot of portability.  1Password can also sync your password database between devices (using another service called Dropbox).

So far 1Password seems to work pretty well.  You set up a master password that unlocks your encrypted password database and it has plugins for all the major web browsers.  Any time you visit a site, you click the 1Password Fill button, and it prompts you for your master password (which locks after a sleep period) and fills in your username and password for you.  All the data is encrypted, so even if someone got access to your password file, they probably can’t read it (I say probably because they would either have to know your master password or brute force guess it).  It also has a password generator feature which will allow you to generate really secure passwords for every account that you have.

So I’m not sure yet if I’ll keep using 1Password for all of my accounts, but I think it’s a good idea for the important stuff like my bank accounts.  I also like that I can sync it with my iPhone, so I think that will help me use it more. What do you think?  What tools do you use to manage the ever growing number of accounts you have?

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