Secure Password Management Software

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With all the stories making news these days about identity theft, it is more important than ever to use strong passwords. But what is a strong password? Without getting too technical, a strong password has an absolute minimum of 8 characters - and the more the better. And these characters should consist not only of alphanumeric, but also what are often called "special characters", i.e., ~!@#$%^<>&*()[]{}.

Okay, so now you are using strong passwords. Is that all? You guessed it - Nope! You not only should be using strong passwords, you should be using them on one site only. In other words, each website where a login is required, should have its own unique strong password. AND not only should these passwords be strong and unique, you should change them regularly. BOY! It's getting more and more complicated. You might ask, "How do I keep track of all these passwords?" Good question.

There are a number of Secure Password Management tools available. They are sometimes called Password Vaults. A few of the more popular ones are listed below. They each offer various options, but all have as a primary feature the ability to save all your passwords securely while needing to remember only one strong password. Some are used in an off-line mode, some are meant for online use, some have both capabilities.

Clicking on any of the links below will open a new window or tab and take you to another website. Phase One has no control over these websites. Please use caution when visiting them. And, as with all free software, please investigate before downloading to be sure they are safe and free from malware.

  • LastPass : the "big dog" on the block — free for desktop/laptop use — $12/year for use on mobile devices. Stores your passwords "in the Cloud".
  • LastPass Pocket : Allows you to use LastPass offline. Your information is still "in the Cloud", but if you need offline use, this will give you that option.
  • KeePass : Free and open source. Primarily for offline use and because of that you may consider it to be more secure. While you can copy usernames and passwords and paste them into your browser with a few clicks or keystrokes, it is not as convenient as LastPass.
  • KeeFox : A free plugin for the Firefox browser, it works with KeePass and adds most of the functionality missing in KeePass. There are a number of reports decrying it for being temperamental. It takes a bit of 'tweaking' during setup and may make Firefox unstable. Use with caution.
  • 1Password : ($50 - $100) Similar to KeePass. Available for Mac, Windows, iPhone, iPad & Android. Has functionality similar to LastPass, but the offline data storage of KeePass.
  • Keeper : ($30/year) Works on all devices, mobile and otherwise.

(All companies listed above are responsible for the pricing of their services. Prices and availability are subject to change without notice.)

 

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