We've all got countless passwords, whether its to access our online banking account, to read our emails or even just to get in to our Facebook profile. However, remembering all of the passwords can be slightly taxing to say the least. While password managers offer one solution, they're no good if you're working from a PC that's not your own, and doesn't have the software loaded on to it.
With this in mind, we've rounded up the five best password tools that are all accessible either from a portable device (such as a USB stick) or over the web.
RoboForm is one of the better-known password-management applications, but the $30 (£15) software (with a free version limited to saving ten passwords) is normally tied to one PC. Its built-in access to GoodSync.com lets it synchronise its account files across multiple systems, but doing so requires Windows network, FTP, or WebDAV access. In other words, setting it up between PCs across the internet - such as your home and work PCs - could be a pain.
Instead, use Microsoft's free FolderShare utility to sync the directory where RoboForm keeps its account files: My Documents\My RoboForm Data\Default Profile. Newly created files will automatically transfer between PCs, though you may have to restart RoboForm to see a new account created on another PC.
The latest online storage features let websites tackle what has long been a security no-no: storing all your user names and passwords online. In addition to a site log-in, Passpack employs a 'Packing Key' passphrase to encrypt your stored cache of account data. Once downloaded and decrypted, that cache stays only on the computer you're using until you save it, at which point it's encrypted again and re-sent to Passpack for storage. Passpack doesn't ever have access to the packing key, and you can't decrypt your passwords without it - so be careful not to lose the key.
You can use PassPack to log you in automatically to sites, though you might need to train it on a specific site. The free service allows you to store only up to 100 log-ins, but the company may add premium levels of service. While Passpack includes some good antiphishing measures, password-stealing attacks could prove to be an Achilles' heel if they target the service's log-in and packing key, so you might want to use it solely for less-important (namely, nonfinancial) sites until it has been around a while to prove itself.
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