Browsing articles from "March, 2014"

Password management with 1Password (and others)

Mar 4, 2014
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Passwords are considered a pain in the neck – and they are, but they are supposed to be.
In today’s digital world we keep our very important details online: our banking, email, personal photos, accounting, etc. Every one of these services are protected by a username and password. Usernames are pretty easy to guess, it’ll be your email address or something similar. This is fine, usernames are there to identify you over others in the system. The trouble starts when you start talking passwords. We have discussed passwords before and the latest version of Spark uses new password control which enforces good password controls. We know our passwords need ‘upgrading’ to stronger passwords, but how do we do it and still remember them?

Enter 1Password.

You can remember a single password right? If you can’t stop reading now. This is a prerequisite!
1Password is a password generator/storage app which runs on OSX, Windows, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Android. Think of it as a digital wallet for all your usernames and passwords. You have a master password which unlocks the wallet and lets you use a username and password to access a service – and then re-locks. The master password file itself is encrypted with a single password that you MUST remember. But it is only one, so you should manage. The master password file can be synced to all of your devices using DropBox (1Password has this integration built in). It works really well.

Once you have 1Password installed (apps on various devices and browser plugins) and setup, you can go to your critical services (think banking, email, accounting, Twitter, Facebook, AppleID etc), hit the change password button, and then use the 1Password browser plugin to create a new super-sized password. You don’t need to know what this password is as 1Password remembers it for you. This is the browser plugin after clicking Password Generator:

Screen Shot 2014-03-03 at 11.34.42 am

When you click Fill, 1Password will then prompt you for a name and it stores this entry in the master password file. You can store any personal information you like inside 1Password. Of course, you are now questioning how secure 1Password’s master file is. Well, short answer, it depends a lot on how strong the password is that you used to secure it. There is more information about it here.

1password

Using 1Password is simple. Go to the login page of the service you want to use and put the cursor into the login field. Next, choose the ‘key icon’ from inside your browser (or up in your Mac menu bar), and select the name of the service. 1Password will put the login and password into the login page for you. That’s it. Easy.

For mobile use, 1Password has a reader app which allows you to copy the password onto the device’s clipboard and paste it into the password field. Still easier than remembering a secure password and certainly easier than recovering from an account compromise!

1Password isn’t the only player in town. Here’s a good list to consider – but we do recommend 1Password if you are serious about passwords.