Roboform started life as an automated form-filling tool back in 1999. The handling of log-in names and passwords was something of an aside. Since then, that side of the program has become its core function. See How to choose a strong secure password.
The latest version, available as a standalone or the USB drive-based application – Roboform2Go – simplifies the whole rigmarole of maintaining different, secure passwords for the many log-ins required in modern life. Take a look at Five of the best password managers too.
The standalone Roboform integrates with your web browser and any applications you might want to protect with a password. It works with Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera, offering an extra toolbar or button with pop-up toolbar to control its functions. Versions are available for Windows, Macintosh and Linux (limited browser plugin only), as well as mobile versions for iPhone, BlackBerry and Android.
However, the Roboform2Go USB version is Windows only and doesn’t integrate with Safari, Chrome or Opera. It’s limited to just Internet Explorer and Firefox.
Siber Systems claims this is due to restrictions in the browsers themselves, when running Roboform from an external drive, but it’s still a significant restriction.
The program works by recording log-ons and playing them back with a couple of mouse clicks. Once the program has a recording, it can be stored as a named log-in, or Passcard.
From then on, clicking on that Passcard in the drop down list in the Roboform toolbar logs you in. You don’t have to remember your user name and can easily use different, high-security passwords for every site. The program will even generate pseudo-random ones on demand.
A snag with Roboform is that all modern web browsers, all of which are now free, handle automated logins already. Most even pester you to be allowed to remember the details for you. Do you really need a specialised tool on top of this?
The answer depends in part on how much security you would like. Roboform stores all passwords and log-in details in encrypted form and you can choose from DES, 3DES, AES, Blowfish or R6 algorithms. You need to provide a master password to access them.
Siber Systems also offers an online service called Roboform Everywhere. Because all your log-on details are stored online, you can’t lose them if your browser falls over or you have to reinstall Windows. You can get at them all from any device that can contact the Roboform Everywhere service. It carries a subscription cost of $20 per year.
If you take a notebook computer away with you and then realise you need access to a site you’ve only ever visited before from your desktop PC, you can still get at the necessary log-in details.
Roboform goes further than storing logins. It can also archive bookmarks, identities, contacts and notes. You can customise the way these are saved, creating folder structures as needed within the secure storage area locally or online.
And, of course, you can still fill online forms automatically, too, though for most people filling the same online form more than once is a fairly rare event.