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mbhn5204
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2005 1:19 pm    Post subject: Review: Programs That Manage Your Passwords Reply with quote Back to top

Review: Programs That Manage Passwords
By PETER SVENSSON
4 hours ago

NEW YORK - Admit it: you use the same password for all Web sites. There's no use denying it. You really know better: someone could get hold of your password from an insecure site and use your identity to sell a nonexistent collection of antique garden gnomes on eBay, leaving you to face the furious buyer.

Now, what are you going to do about your passwords?

Well, browsers nowadays help you remember passwords, but they're not a very good solution.

In Internet Explorer, there's no easy way to manage stored passwords, and worse, they're available to anyone with access to your computer, which could include hackers who install hidden programs.

The recently released Mozilla Firefox browser improves on this by providing a rudimentary management feature and allowing you to lock your passwords with a master password.

A plethora of standalone password management programs do the same, only they're more convenient. These programs also generate random passwords on request, improving security by making the passwords impossible to guess.

I tested five such programs for Windows PCs: Access Manager 2 ($19.95), TK8 safe ($19.95), Password Agent 2 ($24.95), Handy Password ($30) and RoboForm Portable ($39.9Cool.

The first three are almost identical. They all store your passwords in an encrypted "safe" on your hard drive. To retrieve them, you enter a master password.

Woe betide you if you forget your master password, but at least there's just one.

To enter a saved password on a Web page you have to drag and drop the password from the password management program into the Web browser. This is a lot more cumbersome than the password management built into Web browsers. The programs all claim they can fill in password fields automatically via a keyboard command, but this didn't work in my test.

Access Manager 2, TK8 safe and Password Agent 2 thus don't offer much beyond Firefox's built-in password manager, though they could be useful for Internet Explorer users who don't mind some extra work for the sake of security.

Handy Password is a bit better: it creates a toolbar in Internet Explorer and fills in your passwords automatically. It also has a short but good tutorial to get you started. The toolbar feature doesn't work in other browsers.

The leader of the pack, however, is RoboForm Portable.

Unlike the other programs, it's designed to be installed on a USB drive, the tiny "keychain" gadget that has well-nigh replaced the floppy disk as the medium for carrying files between computers.

This means that you can take your passwords with you between computers, along with other personal files on the USB drive. RoboForm takes up less than 10 megabytes of memory.

After inserting the USB drive, you have to open its folder and start RoboForm, which inserts a toolbar into Internet Explorer, Firefox or recent Netscape versions.

It would be more convenient if the program were to start up automatically when the drive is inserted, but it doesn't work that way. It does shut down automatically when the drive is removed, however, keeping your passwords safe from whoever's using the computer next.

Some of the other password management programs will also install on USB drives but are less convenient than RoboForm.

Do note: If you lose the drive, you've lost your passwords (unless you backed them up to other drives or printed them out). But they should be safe if someone finds it since they're protected by the master password.

However, don't think taking your passwords with you on a USB drive solves all your security problems. A computer with a surreptitious keylogging program can still capture your passwords.

Also, the password managers provide no protection from phishing scams, the fake Web sites that are set up to harvest passwords to bank and PayPal accounts.

Is RoboForm Portable worth $40? I'd say yes, if you use several computers. If you only use one computer, go with Firefox or RoboForm Pro, which installs on your hard drive instead of a USB drive and costs $10 less.

On the Net:

http://www.roboform.com

http://www.handypassword.com

http://accessmanager.co.uk

http://www.tk8.com/safe.asp

Password Agent 2: http://www.moonsoftware.com

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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seattlezoid
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2005 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

A Free program called "Any Password" is my choice, available at
http://anypassword.com

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2005 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

seattlezoid wrote:
A Free program called "Any Password" is my choice, available at
http://anypassword.com


Ditto, AnyPassword is great. Been using it for years. Wish they had a PocketPc version, too.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2005 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I'll put this free program on my list. Free programs have the most unfortunate propensity to come with free spyware attached. I hope this isn't the case. So, I guess I'm not the only one around here who uses the same password for just about everything!

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2005 12:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

mbhn5204 wrote:
I'll put this free program on my list. Free programs have the most unfortunate propensity to come with free spyware attached. I hope this isn't the case. So, I guess I'm not the only one around here who uses the same password for just about everything!


The reason for AnyPassword is to keep track of all of your different passwords. If you use the same password for everything then the last program you need is AnyPassword.

I've used this program for a few years with no indication of spyware or anything else diabolical or dastardly.

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mbhn5204
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2005 10:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Thanks for the tip to www.anypassword.com It works excellently. Now I can throw away my little notebook of passwords.

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thevoiptester
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2005 1:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I like KeePass, which can be found here: http://keepass.sourceforge.net/
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dconnor
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2005 1:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

When it comes to passwords, I like cocktail napkins.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 4:27 pm    Post subject: Foobar Reply with quote Back to top

The best for me is Foobar which does other tricks besides passwords and hides at the top of my screen until wanted. It would not be good for a shared computer but is the cat's meow for a stand alone one computer, one driver situation. No, I do not use the same password for multi uses. I do have for openers 13 Web sites to attend to. Last count about 60 different passwords. Get Foobar for a few bucks at http://matrixsoftware.com/

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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2005 6:41 am    Post subject: Password Safe Reply with quote Back to top

Password Safe is one that I've been using a little while now. I have nearly 100 passwords in it and it works great. It's free from sourceforge.net. Uses Blowfish encryption so the security is directly tied to your password you choose. That's the case for any password safe type program though.

As for remembering one password, I would recommend choosing a phrase. A sentence that you can easily remember with caps and spaces with maybe a couple letters out of place that you can remember. This will dramatically increase the security overall and it's simple to do and much more secure as opposed to a standard one word password.
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