#TechTip Use a password manager to record all logins and have 1 master password to access it.
As we continue on with our theme this week of password safety, Lets talk about how to keep track of all those passwords.
Previously, we discussed about how many passwords you need. As stated, its strongly suggested you have a different password for each online portal you access. The reason of course being if one of your passwords is compromised, it won’t affect all of your online platforms. Changing one password isn’t too bad; changing 50 or 100 would be torture!
So with so many logins and passwords, how do you keep track of them all?
I strongly recommend getting some password management software. Yes you could always go for the good ol’ notebook with everything written down, but what happens if you lose that book? You can also keep track of them in a document or spreadsheet file. They would be backed up, but not necessarily secure. Unless the file is encrypted or password protected, then it is vulnerable to prying eyes. Even if you do have an electronic document that is encrypted, searching through many logins could be arduous to find that one login you need.
There are a number of great programs available to help you manage your passwords. Lets take a quick look at some of them.
Personally I am a fan of KeePass Password safe. It is a program that requires a password to open it up and houses a database of all the logins, passwords and site URLs for the web portals you visit. It stores lots of information, and allows you to generate a random password based on the criteria you ask of it. So if you are having trouble thinking up random gibberish for your passwords, let this program take care of it for you.
You can sort your password into categories, such as for home, work passwords or online stores to help keep things organized. If you have lots of passwords, there is also a search feature which will let you find your login credentials easily.
This is also one of the few programs that works on most platforms available. It is free and Open Source, and there are versions that work on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iPhone/iPad, Blackberry and Windows Phone 7, as well as a portable version designed for USB drives. They may have slightly different names for the different versions because each version is created a little differently to work with the Operating System it is designed for, and some are compatible with slightly different versions of the database, so do a little research with this one depending on what platform you have.
Another popular program for managing your passwords is LastPass. There is both a free version as well as a premium version which includes a mobile component.
Where KeePass is solely a single database of your passwords, LastPass also integrates with an online portion that manages and syncs up your passwords. The database may be synced online, but the password key to unlocking it is always stored locally so there is little to no risk of having it hacked online in the cloud. It shares similar traits to KeePass, but can also track the sites you visit so it can auto populate logins and passwords where needed.
LastPass has gone to great lengths to have it work on as many browsers and operating systems as possible so you can be comfortable using it on multiples devices, even if they are different technology. The premium cost is around $1/month
We will go into more depth on the Ironkey in a future blog post. For those that know I am a fan of the Ironkey for its security, but it too also has a password manager built into it. Like LastPass it can detect what site you are visiting and auto populate the login and password info you need. It also has a virtual keyboard that can pop up so you can enter passwords using your mouse, thus preventing any key logger malware from detecting your passwords. The Ironkey solution will be talked about more soon, so stay tuned for that.
Now you know a little more about how to keep your logins secure, and keep your passwords safe. While it may take a while to go through and adjust all your passwords and log the entries into your password database, doing it once and only once is a savings than having to worry about doing it everytime you one and only password for everything is compromised.
Check out our blog again soon for more tips on security online and password protection.