Password Security: Conveniently Solving Password Inconvenience

I have long since felt my password strategy was severely lacking. I basically had three passwords which I considered weak, medium and strong. I had the chance to speak with some security analysts a few weeks back and they of course advised a much stronger solution. They recommended Keepass. It’s an app which stores all of your passwords in a safe encrypted way, and you use a super-strong password to get in. Since it remembers your passwords for you, you can choose insanely long and bizarre passwords for your bank website, so hackers would never be able to guess.

I always thought these things were basically invitations to get hacked, and had been considering going with some sort of password strategy like those presented in this article. But, since the security nerds were willing to go with an installed app, it seemed a lot easier than trying to come up with some crazy pattern based system.

Keepass wasn’t going to work for me, because quite frankly, I have taste. So after a little research, I found a great alternative called 1Password.

1Password has a slick interface, and versions for most platforms (Mac and iPhone apps are all I need). It’s a bit pricey, but I’m happy to pay a one time fee to vastly improve my security. It offers dropbox syncing so all of your devices have all of your passwords, and it offers browser extensions for one click access to login to any of your accounts. 

I’ve had a great experience so far. Generating ridiculously long and complex passwords for each of my accounts is easy. And, you can fine-tune the password complexity in order to hit the maximum requirements for every service you use.

In terms of actually entering those passwords, the browser extensions make life more convenient. Rather than navigating to a website, typing in a login and password and clicking “Submit,” there is a button next to the address bar which includes a menu of all of your accounts. Click any account and you’re automatically logged in.

It is somewhat terrifying that I don’t know my actual password to sites. But I got over it. Also, the dropbox syncing didn’t seem to work so well at first, though I haven’t noticed a problem since my first few days. I did have one funny issue with one of my account’s new password’s and Mint.com… My password was too complex for Mint to handle:

We believe that this error is being caused by you having an unusual character in either your username or password (for example: a PIPE symbol). If you could please remove the unusual character from your Username or Password and update your credentials in Mint, this should resolve the issue.

Besides those few minor issues, I’d highly recommend 1Password. It’s a great tool, and has immensely improved the security of all of my accounts.