There are now so many websites and programs that require the use of passwords that it can be hard to remember them all. The demand of different service vary greatly, with some requiring that passwords are of a minimum length, while other must contain upper and lower case letters or include numbers and symbols. One solution, and one that is employed by too many users, is to simply use one password for a range of sites and programs.
This is obviously a major security risk because it means that should a third party compromise one of your passwords, they also have access to your other password-protected accounts - and this is a serious threat to data. In fact, thousands of users of Sony's PlayStation Network fell into this category after the network was compromised recently. The answer lies in a password manager that stores all of your passwords in one single database that's password protected. Meanwhile autofill features mean usernames and passwords can be automatically entered into website and ensures they don't have to be typed. Here's five of the best password managers. And we've also included a bonus download for helping you create strong passwords in the first place.
Password Safe 3.25
Password Safe makes it easy to store all of your passwords in a single database which is itself protected by a single password - the only one you will need to remember- and they can be organised into groups to make them easy to find when they are needed. The program does not just have to be used to simply store passwords, the autofill feature means that usernames and passwords can be automatically entered into web site and program dialogs to save them from having to be typed.
Password Depot 5.2.6
Password Depot is a powerful password manager that will safely store your passwords, credit card numbers and other confidential information.
The program starts by creating a secure and encrypted file for your data. This can be stored locally, on a USB drive, or even on an internet server for easy access wherever you are.
Next, the built-in password generator will create lengthy, effectively uncrackable passwords for each of your logins. No need to use easy-to-guess passwords any more, or the same one for each site - let Password Depot generate something like "k57&l}\##nkSd7_=de17(" instead and your accounts will be far more secure.
KeePass is one of the best central password managers. As well as storing your regular web passwords, you could use it to store a digital record of your credit card numbers and other information you use across the internet. With ultra-strong encryption, there's no way any hacker will be able to hack in and access your KeePass database, either.
There's also a portable version, which you can copy to a USB key and take on the road.
Sticky Password Free 5.0.3
Sticky Password makes your life easier by filling in online login forms for you. Your usernames and password are stored in a protected database, and rather than having to manually enter details by hand, the program can take care of form filling on your behalf.
The passwords you store in the program are protected in a number of ways. The first level of protection is provided by the master password that must be configured during the setup process. You then have the option of using a USB or Bluetooth device as a secondary authentication method - as an added level of security a virtual keyboard can be used for password entry to avoid problems with keylogging software.
There are Sticky Password plugins available for a number of programs including Firefox and Thunderbird, and passwords that you have already stored in various applications can be imported in a few mouse clicks.
LastPass is a browser plugin that securely stores all of your passwords on one place and can even automatically enter them for you.
Data stored in LastPass can be synchronised between multiple computers so there is no need to update each of them manually and there is also protection against identity theft. When configuring LastPass you can provide certain key personal details, such as your address, as you will be alerted whenever a web sites attempts to extract this information from your computer.
Bonus: Passwords for iPhone 1.0.1
In practice, when asked to come up with a password, many of us will think of something which initially seems random and unguessable, but is in fact weak.
This where Passwords for iPhone can help. It features a slider that can be use to choose the security level of a password which will then be randomly generated for you. Using a combination of lower and upper case letters, numbers and symbols, the app generates password that most people simply wouldn't think of using.