One Password to Rule Them All

In Matt Martin’s post, A confession: Three workshifting sins, he admits to a pretty common practice: using the same password on multiple websites. I’ve done it. I bet you’ve done it, too. Well, no more, I say. I’ve got a few recommendations for password management tools that should help prevent you from ever re-using the same password again.

KeePass: For the longest time I was using KeePass as my primary password management tool. Its open source and came with a strong recommendation from my security buddies, not to mention the countless posts about it on Lifehacker. The only reason I switched is because their cross-platform support is somewhat limited. I love the Windows client and made due with the Mac client, but after I added the iPad to my arsenal of devices I got a little tired of the different user interfaces across the different platforms. You can easily couple KeePass with Dropbox to help you synchronize the database across your computers.

1Password: I didn’t test 1Password personally, but received numerous recommendations for it from my colleagues. The only reason I didn’t give it a test drive is because they are heavily slanted towards Apple devices. They have a client for Mac, iPhone/iPad, and a beta client for Windows. One of the cool things about 1Password is that they have a dedicated section for managing software licenses. What’s more, they also allow you to attach files to your entries.

eWallet: Like 1Password, eWallet is designed to be used for more than just password management. Think of eWallet like a secure digital wallet with all of your important information locked up inside it. They’ve got great mobile support (iPod touch/iPhone/iPad, Blackberry, Palm, Windows Mobile), but only have a client for Windows PCs.

SplashID: SplashId, by far, has the most comprehensive cross-platform support without going to a browser-based tool like LastPass. Their clients provide support for customizable record types, which means you can store just about anything you want in their AES/256-bit Blowfish encrypted database. I highly recommend you give SplashID a thorough review before making your final decision.

LastPass: As their name indicates, LastPass positions itself as the last password you’ll ever need to remember. Unlike all of the other password management tools listed above, this is the only one that doesn’t have a traditional OS-dependent installer. Instead you install the LastPass extension (IE, Safari, Firefox and Chrome are supported) and it automatically integrates with your browser. They also have an app for the iPhone/iPad.

Personally I decided to use LastPass. They’ve got an excellent subscription-based license model (unlike most of the others that are per OS/platform) and most importantly it integrated with my regular workflow. When I was using KeePass I didn’t always update it with new usernames/passwords so I would eventually end up re-using passwords to keep things simple. Now that LastPass automatically stores my usernames and passwords and automatically fills in forms I’ve gotten to the point where I only need to remember my password for LastPass. I’ve even gone so far as to use their auto-generated, super-crazy passwords. What’s more secure than not knowing your own 20-digit password?

Do you have a favorite password management tool that’s made your life easier? Leave us a note; we’d love to hear about it.

[ This post was originally contributed to Workshifting.com. ]