We spend a lot of time wandering the web searching for information on our ancestors. Many of the sites we visit require passwords to access the information. One big concern is keeping up with passwords used to log into the growing number of sites requiring them. To be secure, each site should have its own password and all passwords should be changed regularly. Add to that the growing number of portable wifi devices – iThings, e-readers, smart phones, etc. – and the public wifi systems at libraries, bookstores and coffee shops. Securely managing all the login information and other personal information stored on your systems is a priority. It’s also quite a chore. I can already hear you yelling, “There’s no way!”
Actually, there is a way. It’s a very nice app called 1Password [Mac $40/Win $30].
1Password provides a secure database where you can store login information for all your sites as well as personal information like credit cards, bank accounts, memberships, software licenses and such. With 1Password, you click on the 1P button in your browser while on the login page for a site, enter your 1Password password and the app will load the userid and password for that site into the login form for you. Shopping? At the fields where you need to enter credit card information, click the 1P button and choose the credit card you want to use. 1Password will input all that information for you. All you have to remember is one password.
Using an app like this also protects you from keystroke loggers – apps that log every key you type and send that information to some criminal to use against you. Instead of typing credit card numbers yourself, 1Password enters it for you – bypassing any eavesdroppers. There’s also a secure password generator included in the app which will create a unique password for each site. These passwords would be almost impossible to remember, but then you don’t have to. You just use 1Password to insert it for you.
In addition to the desktop versions, 1Password is also available for the iPhone/iTouch [$10] and iPad [$15]. Both versions will synch with your desktop version to insure all the information is up-to-date on each system. If you have multiple computers at home, you can buy a family license to cover up to 5 computers. Take advantage of 1Password’s 30-day trial to see how it works before you buy.
This app is a very important part of my digital toolbox. And, because it’s so easy, I actually use it. I love 1Password for managing logins, but where it’s really useful for me is keeping up with my member numbers for my libraries. I can never remember those monsters, but since I have 1Password on my iStuff, it’s always with me. Life is good.