Tech Tip: Use a Password manager to keep track of all those different logins

#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.

KeePass

KeePass screenshot

KeePass screenshot

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.

LastPass

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

 

Ironkey

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.

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What’s better: Apple or Android? The answer may surprise you!

There has been a lot of discussion over the past few years over what is a better smartphone: Apple or Android. There are loyal camps on both ends and a lot of vigorously defiant camps in between. (BlackBerry, Microsoft etc.) Some of the fanboys (and fangirls) on both sides will gladly talk at length over why their preferred system is better than all the rest.

So who is right? What is the best mobile solution out there?

The answer? It doesn’t matter.

Both Apple and Android are 2 software ecosystems for connecting you to the digital world. BlackBerry, Windows Phone and all the other operating systems are also excellent at keeping you connected.

You are probably thinking “WELL THAT DOESN’T HELP ME!!!” “WHAT A STUPID ANSWER! OF COURSE MY _____ PHONE IS BETTER THAN ALL THE REST!”

And I have an answer to that rebuttal: You’re right. Your ____ phone is better than all the rest….For you.

There has been too much attention placed on why one is better than the other; but in truth, it all comes down to the same thing I have told people for over 14 years working in the telecom industry. There no such thing as the best phone, there is only the best phone for you!

Lets look at it from a different perspective. What do you need a Smartphone for? Staying connected. Phone calls, Text messages, emails, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and the host of other connected solutions available. Really what does a smartphone do? It bridges the gap between your digital and personal worlds. Any one of the phones I have already mentioned can do that (Plus many more I haven’t even talked about yet) The thing is, everyone is different. Some people rely heavily on social media connectivity and need something that will work. Others just want secure email, while others just want it to work easily. Since everyone is different there is no way to make a blanket statement over what is the better Smartphone, especially in an industry that changes as rapidly as the telecom sector.

So what do you need to know to make the right decision?

Ultimately you need to find out what kind of user you are going to be. Do you need occasional connectivity or constant? Do you have specific applications that you rely on or will you be using more basic communication solutions? Whatever you decide you are, just know that your habits will change over time. What you think is the right solution for you now may not be the right solution for you in a years time. Change and adaptation is part of the technology ecosystem we live in.

There is one thing I will say that will separate ecosystems and hopefully make a decision easier. Platforms should be network and information agnostic. Your information should be accessible on all platforms. You should be able to switch ecosystems as easily as a pair of shoes and still maintain an adequate level of reliable communications. Anything that prevents you from doing that, or forces your information to only be locked to a single ecosystem should be reconsidered.

Open solutions are the only way to stay connected.