Guess what I did last week? Hot on the heels of the Heartbleed internet security bug I devoted some of my leisure time to changing passwords on a few dozen websites.
If you’re like many tens of millions of internet users you have too many login IDs and passwords. Keeping track of them is a painful exercise and it appears that hackers don’t really care because they find ways to hack sites anyway. Is there a solution?
In A Word, No
Passwords are a relic of the last century which needs to have an unceremonious death. Think of the number of places you shop or visit online. Each needs a login ID and a password.
Those online sites add up. Instead of just worrying about my Hotmail, or Yahoo email account information, there’s Gmail, iCloud mail, my company, my ISP, and many others.
And I haven’t even started on all the sites where I shop and bank. Passwords are a necessary evil which must be replaced.
Until Apple figures out a way to bring biometric sensors to a level where login IDs and passwords can be replaced, we’re stuck with the likes of 1Password and other apps to manage what we don’t want to share with others.
A quick look at the Mac App Store using the search term ‘passwords‘ brought up a few dozen options that range from free to damned expensive. A few that caught my eye are worth mentioning.
- Safe+ – This one is a mid-range app to store securely login IDs, passwords, credit card and bank information. Even images and contacts can be stored in Safe+
- mSecure – Similarly priced, this one syncs to other devices using iCloud and has 256-bit Blowfish encryption, plus a built-in password generator.
- Keeper – This app is free for all devices, but there’s a price tag for an upgrade. It’s 256-bit AES encryption with two-factor authentication, and half the price of most password managers.
- eWallet – Similar in price and features is eWallet which also has an iPhone and iPad version and data can be synchronized between devices but only on the same local network; not online.
- DataVault – This one is typical and priced in the middle. It’s AES encrypted, of course, syncs with iOS versions, automatically backs up data, comes with a password strength meter, and can use Dropbox to sync.
- Keys – At the low end of the price ladder is Keys, which also uses AES-256 bit encryption, has a password generator, an auto locking mechanism, but is limited to basic text information (login IDs, passwords, bank and credit card information), and there’s no sync to iOS devices.
Simply put, most of the solutions to manage passwords are variations on a theme. More money means more features and more convenience, but not much more security.
For now, we deal with security methods that date back to the last century while we await Apple’s introduction of retina scanner and biometric DNA scanning with multi-factor authentication so we can avoid login IDs, passwords, and worrying about online hacking attempts.