Password Managment

Password Managment

Nowadays it seems that we have to be “the amazing memory man” to survive in the modern world.  Everything we use seems to need at least one set of characters or a password in order to operate or access it!

We have pin numbers for bank cards, a pin number for our phones, passwords for our email, Skype, social network accounts not to mention Facebook, our online bank accounts and probably so much more.  We all know that its best to use a different password for each thing as we understand that using the same password for everything leaves us open to a world of hurt if we fall foul of hackers, but the fact that we have so many different passwords means that we invariably end up writing them down in some way which is just as bad as having the same password for everything!

Well technology is here to help – there are a number of password managers that are able to help your failing memory.  They all work on the principal in that they are a secure database of all of your passwords, protected by a single password.  I can already hear the critics shouting that by “protecting” all of my passwords with one “master” password makes the whole thing less secure – well I guess it does unless you make the one “master” password very secure; given that you only have to remember one, it should be easier to make it a strong password.

There are loads of different password managers out there, just type a few words into Google to find a whole host of them.  What I hope to do here is just to show you a couple that I have used and recommend.

KeePass – free –

KeePass is a great tool; as with all of the password managers, it not only provides a central and secure place to keep your important information, it allows you to create groups, so for example you could keep all of your banking passwords in one group, your Internet passwords in another group and so on.  It has a built in password generator, so if you are signing up to a new service and wanted to create a new, strong password there and then you could use KeePass to do that for you and at the same time record it so that you have it to hand in the future.

KeePass also allows you to customise the information that you store for each password entry, so for example if one record required website address, username and password and another record required bank account number, sort code, bank phone number you could create either entry with its own specific information without a problem.

mSecure – approx. 15€ –

Msecure is a commercial solution to the problem of storing delicate information and it’s the one that I use mainly because of its advanced features.  In addition to the more standard features of many password managers (storing custom password and security information by groups in a secure protected file) it allows you to synchronise that password information to mobile devices (in my case my iPhone).  mSeven write versions of their software to work on all of the major operating systems, Windows, Mac, Apple iOS and Android so you should be able to find a version to work with whatever you are using computer wise.  You can add information either on your computer or on your mobile device and synchronise between the two either wirelessly, if both computer and mobile phone are on the same network or via Dropbox if they are not.

Whether you want to use the free software or the more flexible paid for software, it’s a good idea to keep a record of your passwords; you never know when you might need them.  Also don’t forget, both of the password managers we have looked at allow you to make a backup of your list of passwords – remember to do this as losing all of that carefully protected delicate information could be a real disaster!