If you're anything like me, passwords are a real pain in the you know what. I had so many poorly-secured logins, I knew it was only a matter of time before one of my accounts was hacked. Over Christmas vacation, I took advantage of the extra time to explore the problem. There are lots of options, but I finally selected to use 1Password.
As Dave Teare, 1Password's founder, describes it in an automated welcome message, 1Password utilizes "256-bit AES Authenticated Encryption." How does one make this work? It's a little time consuming on an iPhone, but not a particularly difficult process. Your first step is to create a master password to use with your account. You will want to select a strong password and retain it in a safe place. If you lose it, you will not be able to reset your account. Next, you will need to create a login for each online account you wish to include. 1Password will let you choose the length of each password, and, when necessary, you can customize to a password of your own choice. This is needed for passwords which aren't yours to modify, and this allows you to include all of your important passwords within this secure online vault. For a small fee, you can add multiple vaults in order to keep different categories of logins separate--e.g. business and personal.
Once your online accounts are updated to the 1Password-created password, it's necessary to add the login URL for each entry. This allows you to access each account with a single click. At times, it may prove difficult to find a workable login URL to use, and I've had to write at least one company for the best link. Even if you ultimately don't find one for a particular account, however, you still have a great and secure way in which to save and retain your passwords within the encrypted vault.
I've been worrying about the security of my logins for years, and this is the best solution I have found for improving security and organization with one simple and intuitive utility. In fact, if I can do it...you certainly can do it, too!
For this review, an iPhone App was used, but I will also be setting it up on my home iMac when I return to Oregon. The software is also available for Windows. 1Password can also be used to fill out name/address/credit card account information online, but I haven't utilized this feature yet.