A couple weeks ago I read a blog that recommended some Mac applications. One of them was 1Password, a password management application. I installed the free trial on my work computer (Windows 7), home computer (Mac), and phone (Android). In addition to a desktop application, there are plugins/addons for modern browsers like Firefox and Chrome. All of which I’ve installed.
After a couple days of using it, I was hooked. This is a must-have application and browser plugin/addon if you want to avoid password reuse, pick secure passwords not found in any dictionaries, and save tons of time. Needless to say, after 3 weeks, before the trial was over, I purchased the Mac and Windows combo pack.
Here’s how it works. After installing the application on your different computers, browsers, and devices, and hooking them all up to your DropBox account, just log into a web site. A dialog like this one will pop up, asking for your 1Password master password.
1Password master password login dialog from Chrome
Once authenticated, the 1Password plugin/addon will ask you for a name to save this web site/username/password combination. Once you save it, the next time you need to log into that web site, just press Ctrl+\ (Windows) or Command+\ (Mac) and you’ll be automatically logged into that web site. If you have multiple logins for the same web site, it will show you the list and you can easily use the arrow keys to pick the one you want use and press Enter.
Additionally, it comes with a customizable password generator. In the example below, you can see I’ve chosen a password that is 16 characters, has 4 digits (numbers), and 4 symbols (punctuation). While this is not actually a password I use, I have used this tool to generate new passwords for almost every account of mine. With no password reuse, if one of those systems gets hacked, the hackers can’t chain my accounts and gain access into anything else of mine.
Password generator example
In the 5-6 weeks I’ve been using this application, I’ve saved 99 web site logins, 14 other account logins, 3 secure notes, and 5 software licenses. I estimate I’ve saved hours in these 5-6 weeks and look forward to saving more. No more looking up passwords in some Excel file or saving them on the browser and then not being able to login on a different computer. Again, I cannot recommend this application enough. It will save you countless hours over the course of a year.
On a parting note, for your main accounts that you use to log into other sites (like Google or Facebook), I HIGHLY recommend setting up 2-level authentication. This usually involves adding your mobile phone number to the account and receiving a text every time a new device or IP logs into that account. You do NOT want to end up like this guy.