Have you ever forgotten a password? For all but the least forgetful of us, this is a regular occurrence, and one which will usually result in head-banging, screams of frustration, and maybe even a sheepish call to tech support to unlock your system for you. This isn’t helped by the need to use different passwords for different sites (so that if someone breaks one, they won’t break the rest - especially crucial for banking and financial sites) and the fact that you not only have to remember passwords, but usernames and other login details too. It’s modern life gone mad, and nowadays a piece of paper with your passwords written down isn’t just unsafe, it’s also unlikely to cover all of the details you need to remember.
Fortunately, there exist a number of free and secure programs which will remember these details for you. These programs, known as password managers, will store all your usernames and passwords in an encrypted database which you can unlock with a single password. They’ll also automatically fill in login forms on the Internet if they’re decently designed, and may also boast other features like secure password generation and automatic form-filling. These two password managers are completely free and work a treat, catering to different groups of users in the process.
This open-source program has a strong community behind its construction and development, one which is extremely conscious of security issues and isn’t out to simply make a profit. What does this mean for the end user? Put simply, it means a high-powered and highly versatile program which is available for both desktop PCs and mobile systems including iPhones, Blackberries and Android phones. You can easily port your data collection over to other systems and although online syncing isn’t integrated into the program’s main build, there are user-friendly tutorials available which explain how to sync KeePass with online file storage systems such as DropBox. AES and TwoFish encryption mean that your data security is second to none (except maybe military installations) and multiple language modules are available for those whose main language isn’t English. KeePass is perfect for the power user who knows what they’re doing and places a high value on security.
The old pro at password management, AI Roboform is actually a paid-for program which is also available free. The no-cost version’s only limitation is a 10-password cap, which may be annoying for those with myriad logins but shouldn’t worry most casual internet users. The program’s frequent prompts and intuitive interface also make this a good general pick for someone who isn’t too technical but wants an easy way to remember their passwords. This doesn’t mean skimping on security: Roboform encrypts its passwords in AES or Blowfish as well as offering features like notepads and form-filling which are similarly encrypted. The form-filling ability is particular useful for those who often find themselves trudging through online bureaucracy. Roboform suits users who don’t have many passwords and are seeking convenience over security, making it a good generalist choice given it also has a high level of security.
Other options also exist, including getting your internet browser to remember your passwords or using an online-based system. The main thing is to make sure that whatever you’re using is trustworthy and reliable.