A quick review of five popular and useful password management software currently on the market.
How many accounts do you have for which a password is required for successful access, or to complete a transaction? By the time you have truly finished counting, you are likely to have closer 50 than 15 when you factor in all of your devices, your email accounts, bank accounts, social networks, and websites you frequent to name a few. However, do all of these accounts have individual, unique passwords?
For the majority of us, the answer is no. In addition to reusing our passwords, they still might not be complex enough (see How secure are your passwords?). Further, in light of the recent Heartbleed incident, and for the websites that had been compromised, experts have recommend that passwords for those compromised be changed.
The prospect of having to change one’s password – which should be done regularly – can be a bit daunting. Although online password generators are available to help create unique and strong passwords, it can be near impossible to remember them all. Password manager applications can help by providing a secure platform in which store all of your passwords and other sensitive information. Five of the most widely recommended are highlighted below.
LastPass is one of the most popular and highly rated password mangers on the market. A key selling point of this application is its simplicity: it automatically fills out forms and has strong browser integration, resulting in seamless integration across a variety of platforms, web browsers and mobile devices. It is also able to hand multi-factor and two-layer authentication, which increasingly is becoming the norm.
LastPass also includes a secure password generator and a facility that analyses passwords and suggests improvements. The premium version includes mobile support, syncing of shared credentials, sharing of passwords with authorized persons.
Supported platforms: Android, Mac, iOS; Linux; Windows; Chrome, Firefox, Blackberry; Opera; Internet Explorer
Price: Free; USD 12.00 per year (premium version)
Developed by AgileBits, 1Password, is well known password manger that can not only manage different categories of personal information, but also generates strong passwords. Further, it can audit your passwords and advise whether they might weak, old, or duplicated, which increases user awareness of network security.
1Password is compatible with a number of popular browsers including Safari, Chrome, Opera and Firefox, and can sync across all of your devices. It offers a secure platform, which is thoroughly and continuously encrypted. However, details can be shared securely with authorised persons by creating additional vaults as and when needed.
Supported platforms: Mac, iOS, Windows, Android, Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Opera
Price: 17.99 (iOS); USD 44.95 (Windows)
RoboForm is another powerful password management application that helps users store the numerous usernames and passwords that must be tracked. Some of its features include automatically saving and filling in log-in information for websites visited; entering your name, address, email address, credit cards, etc., on forms that must be completed; logging into multiple sites at once; and syncing passwords across multiple platforms.
RoboForm also works with biometrics and fingerprint readers, such as that used by Microsoft and Toshiba, which can be especially useful for persons who have been looking for that capability.
Supported platforms: Apple, Android, USB, Windows, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, BlackBerry
Price: Free (Everywhere 7); USD 19.95 (Everywhere 7); USD 29.95 (Desktop 7)
As a Free Open Source Software solution, one of KeePass’ greatest strengths is the control that its gives users in relation to password management. It is available for multiple platforms and has a broad range of features including: automatic password generation; auto fill-in; field and icon customization, secure notes, and the ability to copy and paste login details via a clipboard.
Supported platforms: Windows, Mac, iOS, Linux, Android, J2ME, BlackBerry, PalmOS.
5. Norton Identity Safe
A product of Symantec, Norton Identity Safe is a standalone application developed and maintained by a global leader in network security. Similar to the other products discussed above, this application: securely stores passwords, saves addresses, credit card and frequent flyer information, mobile PINs, etc.; has automatic fill and store capabilities; stores notes; has a strong password generator; and supports a variety web browsers and platforms.
Supported platforms: Mac, iOS, Android, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer